Making Connections

Saturday is typically the day, I don’t have any worries or cares about getting out of bed and I typically stay there until I think to myself, “It is time to get up, you don’t want to waste your day.” However, this Saturday was unlike any other as I didn’t need an alarm and I was just awakened by knowing today would positively affect a child’s life.  So 7:00AM, I was up and ready to host 200 kids at the Arizona Science Center.

During the 11:45AM orientation the potential impact was discussed through a powerful example from a previous event.  There was a 15 year old who couldn’t read and during one of our events they were connected with another peer volunteer who wanted to tutor.  They connected and are now meeting for tutoring sessions weekly.  I have to admit, I teared up and I believe others did the same, but it just shows how one person can make a difference.

At 12:30PM, the group homes started arriving and the atrium area was filled with many echoing voices of excitement and pure enthusiasm.  The volunteers were matched with their group and they started this awkward first time conversation of trying to get to know each other and tried to find common ground to build a bridge and get to know each other.  With schedules in hand, they were off to their adventure.

As the group homes were checking out, there were smiles all around as kids were talking about the best part of their day.  Most of them were beyond fascinated with the planetarium, forces of nature, and the bed of nails.   What a unique way for kids to have fun with science while applying classroom knowledge to understand and answer why.  But the best part about being in the checkout area was watching how both the volunteers and the kids connected with each other in a special way, in a short period of time.

There were volunteers who said the following:

–        I truly connected with the girls in my group and I feel that connection was genuine so I need to keep in touch.

–        I asked him (a little boy) if he wanted his hand back and he said, no I just want to you to hold my hand today.

–        How frequently do you all have events?  I would like to continue volunteering because I really enjoyed my day

It was so beautiful to see how the day evolved.  How, once strangers having an awkward conversation, were now friends for the day, how they made a special connection, and some even exchanged a friendly hug.  To see the impact of this day, was the reason I didn’t have a problem getting out of the bed on my typical sleepy Saturday morning.

LaCenia Cheek

Foster Arizona: Kid Connection Events












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