Sniffle

The end is getting closer. Tomorrow is my last day in the schools and we leave from Mississippi on Sunday morning. I am not ready!

Our morning at the Alternative School was rough today; some of the students were more disagreeable than usual and because of their violent outbursts the school had to go into lock-down (meaning all classroom doors and outside gates locked) until the Principal and School Officer came into the room. I guess I may never have mentioned that our classroom is special because we work with the more aggressive kids in the school. With the school year ending and Testing beginning, they are aggravated easily and are still learning to take care of their anger in an appropriate manner. I like the classroom mantra about choices: Ignore, Walk Away, or Tell an Adult. Unfortunately that doesn't always happen and some of them end up being restrained or put into time-out so they can't harm others or themselves. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the situations and I wish I were more able to understand their frustrations so as to communicate better with them. When everyone was finally calmed down and working on a gardening project it was my time to leave for lunch before heading to the Boys' and Girls' Club.

These past few days the Club has been understaffed (like usual) so I've been taking the kindergarten class and working with them on art projects. We made a poster for Earth Day and discussed why the Earth is special and what we can do to help take care of it. Some of their responses were hilarious, such as "I could clean my room!" or "I will sweep the sidewalk." But, because I've been busy working directly with one class I haven't had the freedom to get around to other students like I usually do. I love wandering around between the groups and having conversations with the various friends I have. Hopefully tomorrow I will have more leeway.

Ugh. Tomorrow. I do not want to say my final goodbyes to the children and staff. Today was such a great day and I've held my composure fairly well, despite the students repeatedly asking me if I can please stay longer. At one point a mother showed to pick up her son from the Club and she thanked me for being a friend to the young man. She said he just loves me and talks about me all the time at home (And I do the same about him)-- I hated saying that tomorrow is my last day. She too asked if I could stay any longer. I explained my situation then excused myself to the restroom for a moment alone. I cried quickly and quietly so the kids wouldn't hear. I don't want them to know how attached and emotional I am. It wouldn't be so bad saying goodbye if I were coming back, but there's a good chance I will never see these kids again and after spending SO much time with them it hurts to leave. I want to see them grow up!

Blah. Enough Emo. Here's a reflection about AmeriCorps in general.


AmeriCorps NCCC has been an eye opening experience for me; I guess I didn't realize the extent to which people in our own country have been disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control. The kids don't choose their home life, they can't help having a single mom or two working parents, and they sometimes just need the extra love. The families here didn't want their homes wiped away, they don't want to spend all their time at work, and the American way of life has taken its toll. And the community here is still working hard to come back together after such devastation. I have met numerous inspiring individuals and I will always keep a special place in my heart for Biloxi. I feel a powerful drive to pursue meaningful work when I am done here and already possess greater purpose in my life. As much as I miss my family and friends, this is something I needed more than words can tell.

Comments

  1. :) I so enjoy living vicariously through your AmeriCorps experience. You were blessed with a really cool 1st project.


    Mark

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