“Can you teach me how to tie my shoes?” I looked down. There was Miguel. He pointed at his untied shoelaces. “Come sit down over here.” I said as I pulled over a chair. “Just remember this: Loop, Swoop and Pull.” I tied his shoelace. “Now you try on the other.” He bent down. “Loop… Swoop and… Pull.” He completed a perfect bow.
Later on in that day, Thomas came over to me. “Can you help me tie my sneaker?” Miguel was next to me. I was helping him learn the letters of the alphabet. “I think Miguel can help you.” I looked down at him and he nodded. He brought Thomas to the side, “Just remember, Loop, Swoop and Pull.”
In between studying for the SATs and preparing for my varsity basketball season, I volunteered in a local preschool for Head Start and Special Needs Children in the summer before my junior year. I worked with students who were attending their first year of the school during that year. I was invited back to volunteer again the next summer. I was with the second year students and Miguel and Thomas were again in my class.
“Do you want to see me write my name?” Miguel asked the first day of my second summer at the school. He used a purple marker and a blank piece of white paper and clearly wrote “Miguel.” Thomas approached me, “Look, I can tie my shoes now.” He bent down, “Loop, Swoop and Pull,” he whispered as he completed a perfect bow. “It’s great to see you guys again. I’ll be here the whole summer.”
The goal of the program is prepare the students for success in kindergarten. The best thing about going to the school for two years was to see the progress Miguel, Thomas and the other kids made. I saw the children walk on the stage at the graduation ceremony at the end of the summer term. I know they will be able to excel in kindergarten.
I began to visualize Thomas and Miguel being at the top of their class in kindergarten next year. I am proud of the work the school does for the children and the progress the children make in the school. I look forward to returning to volunteer next summer.
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