My STEP project consisted of volunteering and working with the Department of Social Change in many aspects of the Columbus Community. I worked three different populations within the program. The kind of work I did ranged from helping 2nd-4th graders academically, holding conversation about leadership and empowerment with 6th-8th girl and playing games and making arts & crafts with the elderly.
I have learned that as a college that there is so much work to be done outside of the community that we are all used. What I mean by this is living the university’s motto “Education for Citizenship” out. Yes, we all may be busy college students and we are coming here to get an education to better ourselves, but what I found out is that we should work to better the community around us. Through the work that I was doing, I became more aware of how everyone needs somebody no matter what in every aspect of life. The smallest things could make someone’s day. Doing work with the populations that I worked with made me more humble and grateful for the opportunities that I have
When I was working with the elementary students, I helped them with their homework, we did science experiments and play academic focused games. When I was working with those children, they were giving a healthy after school snack. This was done because there were some children who only ate at school and didn’t eat anything when they were at home. This really hit home for me because I know what the feeling of not being able to eat a full, healthy meal feels like. Being in college, and having access to literally all different types of food makes me forget about how little some families have to eat. This experience has made me become humble.
In regards, to working with the middle school girls and the elderly, I have learned that relationships are important. One of the things that really stuck with me when having those conversations with those middle schools, was the conversation we had about bullying. It was a surprise lesson for me because it was not on the curriculum that I was follow, but there was bullying happening outside of the program. We talked about what being a bully was and shared experiences of being a bully and being bullied on. The conversation somehow shifted to a talk about suicide. The girls were telling about some of their friends trying to commit suicide because of the bullying. It just took me by surprise because I have never experienced personally friends at that age trying to kill themselves, I just heard of stories on the news. I didn’t know that bullying was that bad. As a social work major, I did inform them of numbers they could call in case themselves or someone else have suicide thoughts. I did make sure that an older adult knew about the situations when we were talking. Relationship with people really matter because I simple smile or how are you doing, could change someone’s life.
When I was working with the elderly in the nursing home it was fun, but also a little sad. It was sad because more often than not, the residents that are there just get dropped off there and no one comes to visit them. They would tell me every time, that I came that they were glad I was there and after every time, they would be excited for the next time. Recently, I threw them a party and they were so grateful. I had numerus of people who worked at the nursing home telling me that the work that I do there is just amazing because I was so committed to showing the residents love and to be a listening ear. There have been a couple of time in which residents would come up to me and tell me about their problems because I was one of the only people to listen to them.
This change is so valuable to me because having had different experiences as such will make me a better social worker. As a social worker, building rapport is one of the most important things when sitting and talking with your clients. I feel like the work that I did with the middle school girls and the elderly was a great experience I building rapport. I was able to learn how to sympathize with the elementary kids. Sympathizing being another important skill to have as social worker.