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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What I Learned While Volunteering

What I Learned Volunteering in a Migrant Community
Over the course of four years, I spent a few hours a week volunteering at a public school near the Salton Sea, assisting a second grade teacher’s students with reading and pronunciation. It was a lovely drive through fields of green peppers, strawberries, jalapeno bushes and long expanses of date palms. Now that we’ve moved away from the desert, I’m reminiscing about some of the things I miss. And working with adorable children with starry eyes and big dreams is on that list.

 The following is a brief list of things I learned:
·         I learned that most second graders want to make friends with everyone.
·         Most of them want to learn to read in English and pronunciation is important to them
·         They want to do well in school and make their parents and teachers proud.
·         They don’t want to migrate or move because a harvest is complete.
·         They don’t want to leave the United States because this is home.
·         Their mommy and daddy work very hard packing dates or picking peppers
·         Many of them like the company of several Chihuahuas.
·         They get balanced meals at school but not much at home.
·         Many of them have many brothers and sisters who are busy
·         Noisy parents and older siblings keep them up at night
·         Most of them love Dr. Seuss

·         Most are very loving, trusting children wanting affection
·         They generally shop at Walmart
·         Many have fathers who were deported
·         Some had fathers who were in jail.
·         Many of the little girls love pink hoodies and plastic bangles.
·         They appreciated everything I tried to teach them but are sleepy sometimes.
·         Many of them get very excited about the Scholastic Book caravan in the library.
·         Many of them have to cook or babysit for other family members and siblings.
·         It’s not easy to study at home, and many times no one speaks English at home.
·         By being born in the U.S., these kids have lofty goals and aspirations. (I hope I encouraged them.)
·         For some Native American children, English was their third language after Spanish.
·         Many relatives rely on public transportation
·         Most importantly, I learned most are very smart and super sweet. I miss those smiles.

Everyone’s heard that volunteering is rewarding and I have to say without any doubt that it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life. What about you, have you done some volunteer work? What about these children—what do you think about their future?


  1. I do a lot of volunteer work through my church.
    WalMart and Dr. Seuss must be universal.
    Those kids have a good attitude. Those that keep it have a good shot at a decent future.

    1. Thanks for your comments Alex. I hope they have a great future!

  2. It does sound like you enjoyed it.

  3. awwww sounds like you did so well. Do you miss it alot now ?
    Maye 1 or 2 of the children you talk about will do well, most will not. Living with illegal parents, speaking only spanish will always hold them back.

    I spent so many years volunteering.. Loved it.
    My son volunteers at the shelter and as a man he is working with all the scared and abused animal.
    Men are the ones who abuse animals the most. So the HSSA is so happy to have him helping.
    But I have a very different outlook on all the illegals that are here in Tucson.
    My teacher friend was working with 2nd and 3rd.graders, homework came back undone. Copy work sheets came back undone. Even just a weekend away from school their English dropped back to non verbal.
    Your group may have wanted to learn English at 2nd grade but by 15 they have dropped out of school speak very little English.
    Their home are Spanish only, the parents have anchor babies,
    are on every kind of welfare. In Raul Grijalva Democrat .district keeps handing out the free money. Why work when you can have another anchor baby. He alway has tons of excuses. But the most important one. RESPONSIBILITY to yourself and your family. The ones who do make through high school barely squeak by. One district gave the HS kids, computers, extra study time and help. Nothing !
    Other school districts here are doing somewhat better but the 15 year old age is the big drop out number.
    One reason the cartels are doing so well here, lots of illegals beholding to them and a need for money.
    Of course I am not saying all but so many do not do well because they are told at home they are Hispanic first and just living here for the money.
    I just do not understand.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. I'm only writing about innocent second graders and I'm not talking about anything political. The adults are supposed to figure that stuff out but not by sacrificing sweet children. Thank you so much for your kind and meaningful answer and sorry if I hit a nerve. Hugs.

  4. It sounds like you really miss it--and them--Eve.

    Gayle--I think that's the problem we have here. Parents don't teach their kids to respect the laws of the country or the rules in the apartment complex.

    On the other hand, I know Hispanics who work at a local motel--good, decent people just trying to make a better life than they would have had back in Mexico.

    1. I do miss them but fortunately I'm busy with other things now.

  5. Thank You SO much for sharing these wise truths that every person in the USA should read!!!

  6. Your description of driving to the school is very special. It sounds as though you are missing your former life Eve.