Authored by: Alexa Hernandez, Teen Volunteer at Copper Hills Elementary
I started volunteering at the Afterschool Program at Copper Hills Elementary at the beginning of last year. When I first started going there, I saw all these little kids who were each so different but somehow alike. Slowly, each one of them won a place in my heart. I care about each and every one of these kids and I would be willing to do anything for them. I don’t really think we notice how such small things can have such a huge impact.
We started every day in the Afterschool Program with homework time, which is one of my favorite things to do with the kids. We have teachers who work one-on-one with, as well as youth leaders and an afterschool coordinator. As a volunteer, I’m responsible for helping kids with their homework. It really touches you to know you helped little kids understand their homework and helped expanding their knowledge.
After homework we have snack. It gives a chance for all our kids get to socialize—and the snacks are pretty good if you ask me. After snack we have a variety of clubs and enrichment activities. Last year at Copper Hills, we had community service, martial arts, arts and crafts. Not only do the kids enjoy each and every one of these, but the classes also taught them important skills. They learned how to perform good deeds and care about our environment and the people. The community service club performed a variety of tasks, such as picking up the garbage around the school, making dog toys to donate to an animal shelter, and painting toys in order to give them to a preschool. Arts and crafts allowed them to use their imagination in new ways, and martial arts taught them safety and protection. Not only do we have homework help and enrichment activities, but we also have field trips that the kids, workers and volunteers really enjoy.
Before I started volunteering at the Afterschool Program, I didn’t realize how important it was. I really do think that it impacts the lives of our kids. I think we have to give credit to our lovely coordinators, who do everything they can to provide the best learning experience and make the children, workers and volunteers feel like a team. It’s a family where we all have each other’s back. The program has not only impacted me, but also the lives of the kids. I’m truly grateful to be able to be a part of it.