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Jan 17, 2008

At the Mercy of Children

Once a month I volunteer at an After School program for a local elementary school. In the past, it has been both fun and humiliating. But it is always interesting and is a nice study break. Basically, we run around and play dodgeball or soccer or run up and down the stairs in an effort to teach these "at risk" kids the value of exercise and health. They get a "healthy" snack afterwards (today it was mac 'n cheese with raisins. Not the best, but not the worst either).

Today, I felt that I triumphed over my fear of kids. Having previously had my ego destroyed by one vicious little brat, I never wanted to go back. However, I have been back twice, each one more fun than the last. Today was the best so far.

One of the best things about going is the quotes. Here are some of the gems from today.

"Soccer is so pointless. Why should we run around and kick the ball at each other when we could be shopping?"

"I hate soccer. Nothing exciting ever happens." She then kicked the ball in despair - directly into my face, knocking off my glasses. Raucous laugher ensued, proving that exciting things DO happen in soccer.

"Boys are wimps. They can't even make a single lap without having to sit down!"

"Life is for living and death is for deathing." I have no idea where this little bit of profundity came from.

The best thing about today, however, was a girl named Brenda. She was probably three times as big as anyone else in her group, a result of being held back twice. She started out on the mopey side, but I made a crack about how my co-volunteer (who has a buzz cut) could never pull off her braids and barrettes. She loosened up after that. Our final activity of the day was in the computer lab, where the kids were on a site that let them come up with healthy recipes. She made a smoothie recipe all for me, printed it out, and wrote on it. She said, "Dear Vanna," she couldn't remember my name, so settled on Vanna White, "you're the best! Thanks for coming today. Love, Brenda" and dated it.

That's going on the fridge as one of my proudest accomplishments.

3 Readers rock!:

alexine said...


How's your new cat? ;)

martha said...

watch it, they are sneaky! Last week after a long discussion w/ one of my at risk kids, as I was walking away, I heard him whisper "I love you Ms. Martha". I nearly cried...
They aren't nearly as scary as I thought either...
Good luck w/ the kiddos. You will bring them much joy.

The Scrivener said...

Haha, oh that's awesome. Working with kids can be craaaazy.