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My Final Week

As I wrap up my duties here in San Diego, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. My host family has become my second family, including all of their pets. (see ClaraBelle pictured below).

The family pup, Clarabelle, playing dress-up in my shoes.

The family pup, ClaraBelle, playing dress-up in my shoes.

My host family has been so hospitable and welcoming. Gerry, my host dad, always shows me new running routes in the area, and Jennifer and I stay up late talking about school, work, and life in general. Last night we went out to dinner and a movie together. :)

This past weekend the host family took me to Point Loma to check out the cliffs and tide-pools. With our picnic lunch packed, we headed out. The view was gorgeous as we hiked along the cliffs!

Silly pic with my "sisters" at Point Loma tide pools. Quite the view, but soooo windy!

Silly pic with my “sisters” at Point Loma tide pools. Quite the view, but soooo windy!

Also that weekend I went to a Padres game with my friends from SMC that live a few hours north. We grabbed dinner before the game and had a good time catching up. Also, the Padres win was pretty cool, since every run they scored resulted in a fire/firework show at Petco Park!

Padres game with my friends from OC. Padres beat the Mets 5-0, with 3 homeruns. My host family said I looked like a local!

Padres game with my friends from OC. Padres beat the Mets 5-0, with 3 homeruns. My host family said I looked like a local!

Monday was the last day of school for the year-round schedule, which meant Summer Intercession at Bayside the next day. We fed the students lunch, and then sent them to read, do arts-and-crafts, and garden in the Linda Vista Community garden behind Bayside.

Last day of school! This is a snapshot in front of the Academic Club classroom with some of my students.

Last day of school! This is a snapshot in front of the Academic Club classroom with some of my students.

Doing an arts-and-crafts project with the students: each one made their own sea creature and then presented to the group.

Doing an arts-and-crafts project with the students: each one made their own sea creature and then presented to the group.

First day of Summer Intercession. Making tostadas with fresh ingredients from the garden with Miss Amy.

First day of Summer Intercession. Making tostadas with fresh ingredients from the garden with Miss Amy.

Overall, I would say my last week down here is bitter-sweet. I absolutely love the work I am doing, my host family, and the location. This experience has been once in a lifetime and I am so glad I was able to serve the Linda Vista community. This might sound cliché or corny, but I learned so much from my students. I learned how to be more patient. I learned how grateful they are to be in the Academic Club. I learned about their lives, and their families, and how similar yet different we are. I learned a LOT about classroom management and lesson planning. I learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, because that’s what my students do everyday. They struggle with new words, new books, new grammar rules, but they take it in stride and struggle openly. I have tried to approach my fellowship in the same way. Coming into this fellowship I did NOT expect to basically become a teacher. But the students needed me, and I knew I had to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Granted, not everyday was  the best, and there were days where I felt unproductive and lost. But every night as I lay in my bed, I knew it was worth it, and I looked forward to getting up in the morning and doing it all again.

I am going to miss my students, Kit Carson Elementary, Bayside Community Center, the community of Linda Vista, and my host family. I can safely say this has been the most memorable summer of my life. My host sisters are already planning next summer!

 

Rocky Mountain 14er

This weekend I hiked my first Rocky Mountain 14er! The Colorado Rockies have about 53 mountains and peaks that reach over 14,000 ft of elevation, which are nicknamed 14ers. My host family and I hiked Mt. Bierstadt, which is about 14,065ft. We left at 6AM and hiked the beautiful mountain side.10501649_10152546903398537_2756839175622445991_n

 

Service as Leadership

This past week I implemented a two day Youth Leadership Workshop for high school students in the Denver metro area. I’ve been working on this workshop all summer long, and I must say it was a great success. We had a total of 25 students participating in the workshop and had many positive responses. From our evaluations, we received many comments saying that the workshop was useful, insightful, fun, and that they would work on creating a new Red Cross Club at their schools.

The theme of the workshop was Service as Leadership, in which I conveyed the importance of service and involvement in the community as a sign of leadership. Leadership through the lens of service allowed students to see the impact that everyday deeds and small acts of service to others creates bonds within the community. They empower themselves to be postive agents of change to act where they see is a need of the community. Service as leadership is a model that I have developed personally throughout my life.

“Red Cross for lifeeeeee” – one student attending the workshop

 

A Day In The Life

I wanted to share what a typical day is like at Kit Carson Elementary’s Academic Club.

From 10am-1pm I am usually lesson planning or working on other projects at Bayside Community Center. The project I am currently working on is updating the Academic Club Handbook. I am instilling the new Common Core into the handbook and creating lesson plans for the new Academic Club teachers Bayside will hire in the fall.

2:15pm- Students are dismissed from school.

2:30-3pm-Outdoor free time and snack time

3-5pm: Four 30 min rotations consisting of reading, homework, and literacy activities

5-5:30pm: Clean up and pick-up

 

 

Here are some pictures to give you a visual :)

The Academic Club "bungalow." Such a pretty mural to see everyday!

The Academic Club “bungalow.” Such a pretty mural to see everyday!

My whiteboard... I usually use the tiny one to display which group is doing what activity each rotation. There are four groups: Red, Orange, Green, and Blue, each at different reading levels.

My whiteboard… I usually use the tiny one to display which group is doing what activity each rotation. There are four groups: Red, Orange, Green, and Blue, each at different reading levels.

These are some pictures that students drew to go along with the poem Orange Group wrote... It's about a cat.

These are some pictures that students drew to go along with the poem Orange Group wrote… It’s about a cat.

One of my volunteers from USD helped the students on this project; they took really zoomed-in photos, pasted them onto construction paper, and drew the rest of the picture on the paper.

One of my volunteers from USD helped the students on this project; they took really zoomed-in photos, pasted them onto construction paper, and drew the rest of the picture on the paper.

The baskets of leveled books A-Z.

The baskets of leveled books A-Z.

More books, each shelf has group-level books and is labeled accordingly.

More books, each shelf has group-level books and is labeled accordingly.

 

My 4th of July Weekend- What a sense of patriotism and community!

At the annual El Cerrito Neighborhood 4th of July Parade... Matching t-shirts and everything!

At the annual El Cerrito Neighborhood 4th of July Parade… Matching t-shirts and everything!

The police and fire departments both came out to celebrate the 4th with the El Cerrito community. I got a personal tour of a fire truck!

The police and fire departments both came out to celebrate the 4th with the El Cerrito community. I got a personal tour of a fire truck!

Walking back to my friend's grandparents' condo nestled between Mission Bay and PB. Watched two sets of fireworks :)

Walking back to my friend’s grandparents’ condo nestled between Mission Bay and PB. Watched two sets of fireworks with some great new friends! Also learned how to surf the next morning… Kinda :)

Hiked in 95 degree heat with my friend Karim. This 8 mile round-trip hike was a doozy, but totally worth it!

Hiked in 95 degree heat with my friend Karim. This 8 mile round-trip hike was a doozy, but totally worth it!

 

Montgomery Middle School Academic Exhibition

This morning, a few coworkers and I went over to Montgomery Middle School just down the road from Bayside Community Center to listen to and give feedback on the 8th graders “All About Me” projects. I listened to 10 presentations, where each student talked about who inspired them, what classes they took this year, where they were going to high school, and their life goals. I was soooo impressed! All of the students were taking Project Lead the Way courses in robotics, engineering, and architecture. I wished I had those programs at my middle school! Every student was a first generation American, with their parents either from Mexico or Vietnam. All students said that their parents inspired them to focus on education and the opportunity it can provide them. Overall, I was so glad I could better get to know the middle schoolers of Linda Vista; many had come from Kit Carson Elementary, where I currently work.

At the end of the presentations, the students were able to ask me questions about high school and college. It was fun giving advice to some incoming freshman… Although I felt pretty old when I discovered that all of them were born in 2000!

 

Now I Become Myself

Some brief thoughts….

I’ve been a reflective person for a long time now. Always looking inward at myself, my personal and spiritual growth, and always looking for an answer to the question “Why am I here?”  Two more questions stick out to me that are necessary in tackling that question: Who am I? and What will I do?

Who am I requires deep reflection over time, coupled with challenges and faith. Understanding yourself, your skill sets, your gifts, talents, passions, are all part of understanding who you are. Understanding who you are not is equally as important. Honesty about who you are and who you are not is an essential part to self-reflection.

Vocation- in determining a vocation, it has always been important to me to do something that is beneficial to the community that I live in, because I do not live just for myself–I have not been raised by myself, nor do I live limited to serving and pleasing myself. Therefore, it is important for me to have a vocation that is beneficial to others. Next, a vocation must have interest or passion–something that I care about and am invested in.

To me vocation is about living a good life. A good life that respects, appreciates, and upholds justice for all. This is different from ‘having a good life.’  The question “Why am I here” may be answered with “to live a good life,” which in my opinion encompasses living a life in service to others, rather than living a life in service to myself. I cannot be without others.

 
 
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