Volunteer Testimonial December 2018

The Elementary Volunteer

“At that moment I realized how much of an impact one individual can have on another. All I gave her was a little of my time and that time meant the world to her. To have someone listen and talk to her meant more to that little girl than anything. In the end, I taught that second grade class how to write poems, but they taught me about compassion and acceptance.”

-an excerpt from “The Elementary Volunteer” by Emilee Foster, Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Member, Volunteer Engagement Program

  Elementary school students learning about the importance of a healthy watershed in a Mobile Baykeeper and AmeriCorps Program SWAMP presentation. Photo credit: Mobile Baykeeper

Elementary school students learning about the importance of a healthy watershed in a Mobile Baykeeper and AmeriCorps Program SWAMP presentation. Photo credit: Mobile Baykeeper

When I was a senior in college I volunteered for a local elementary school. My job was to take a class of twenty second grade students and teach them poetry. This was something that I was extremely excited for. I have always enjoyed reading poetry and was really excited to share this joy with the students. The first day I was extremely nervous. I always love to plan events out in advance so I know what to expect, but this time was different. I did not know what would come from this experience. I had never taught a group of small children before. Nonetheless, I prepared a lesson plan and walked through the front of the school, books in hand, not knowing what to expect. As the youngest member of my family, I was not accustomed to being around children and I was afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. However, the moment I set foot in the classroom, all of my anxiety dissipated. As I looked around at their smiling faces I knew that this would be a semester of volunteering that I would never forget.

During the semester, I could see the growth in each child’s vocabulary and how their confidence had grown throughout the process. All of the children tried their hardest every class to compose the best poem to share with their peers at the end of the day. While it was nice seeing these elementary school kids expand their education, the moment that stood out the most was when a little girl looked at me and said, “Thank you for reading my poems. No one else seems this excited when I ask them to read my poems.” At that moment I realized how much of an impact one individual can have on another. All I gave her was a little of my time and that time meant the world to her. To have someone listen and talk to her meant more to that little girl than anything.

In the end, I taught that second grade class how to write poems, but they taught me about compassion and acceptance. That is the reason why I choose to volunteer. By volunteering we can help people realize their true selves and bring the world together.

Mobile Baykeeper has many opportunities to volunteer and make a difference of your own. Check out the next cleanup, roundup, or event by following us on social media.