Q: How or why did you becoming involved with the Haldeman After School Program
I helped start the Haldeman After School Program. A grandmother who was raising her grandchildren approached me while I was working at the annual Haldeman Halloween party.
Q: What kind of work do you do with the students?
I coordinate the scheduling of volunteers, help with fund raising, supervise student workers, tutor, lead activities on occasion, prepare snacks, encourage and mentor.
Q: What’s been your most memorable or rewarding experience you’ve had since becoming a volunteer?
Seeing the children grow and develop into wonderfully curious human beings who are full of dreams and energy is the best part of this work! It is rewarding to know that we provide a safe refuge for some children who have difficult challenges in their young lives, and that we have introduced them to healthy foods they had never tried before. When we have the end of the semester celebration and visitors see the children dancing, singing, performing, and showing off their artwork, the gym is filled with creativity, promise, and hope! Everyone feels proud—children, volunteers, families, neighbors, and friends alike.
Q: Why do you think the Haldeman After School Program is a vital asset to the community?
We like to think of our nation as one that offers unparalleled opportunity, a place where everyone has a chance at the “American dream.” But, sadly, not every child has an equal start in life, and not every home or community is able to provide all of the necessities a child needs to be healthy, happy, and do well in school. Family members work hard, but time and resources are often scarce. Long days at a job and house hold duties can sometimes make it difficult to devote time to homework or to be at home when a child arrives from school. Haldeman’s After School Program helps to level the playing field.
We offer activities that are often not readily available at school—physical games where everyone can play (unlike many competitive sports), visual arts, music, dance, and theatre—while also improving children’s academic skills through tutoring, reading, and our new science program. And, perhaps most importantly, we offer the children a chance to learn about the history of their community through interaction with senior volunteers, and to develop a sense of pride in Haldeman. Our program helps bring people together in a safe environment to learn, share, and have fun!
Q: What would you say to someone thinking about getting involved with the Haldeman After School Program?
Just do it! There is nothing else that has the potential for such tremendous impact on the world than helping a child. We make it easy for volunteers to participate in a variety of ways and to devote whatever amount of time they can spare. Even an hour a week is a wonderful gift to our program!
Hometown: Morehead, KY
I teach art history and Appalachian Studies at Morehead State University
Staffing this popular event was part of a service-learning component for students enrolled in my Introduction to Appalachia class. She told me that many children in the community needed extra help with their homework and some tutoring. I felt that was something that we could do—it did not require much money, just caring volunteers who wanted to give a great group of kids a good start in life.