Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Staff
Project Transformation now has a blog for interns! We want this blog to be a place where interns can share their experiences with PT supporters and those who want to learn more about our programs. Stay tuned to learn more about the amazing young adults who are serving children and families in the Dallas area.
Filed under: 2012-2013 Year Round Interns, Chapel Hill, Family Fun Nights, Ministry Sites
Colby, a first grader, started coming to the program in January. At the time, he could barely read two words and would just try and guess the answers to his homework. At the same time, Chapel Hill received a new intern who was having some trouble finding his place within the community that had formed. Alex, the intern, started patiently helping Colby with his homework on a daily basis. There were times when Colby would run wild and Alex would softly ask him to sit back down to finish his homework. The two boys formed a bond as Colby could tell that Mr. Alex truly cared for him and wanted to help him learn to read. Mr. Alex started to figure out when Colby needed to take a break from homework and go outside to play basketball. Through hard work and patience, Colby can now read complete sentences and sound out words that he does not know.
As Colby’s reading improved, so did Mr. Alex’s confidence. Alex started helping kids who wanted to learn the piano pick up the basics of it. He also felt more confident letting the kids see some of his talents and became more confident working in the after school program overall. During the last Family Fun Night, Colby’s mom told Mr. Alex how appreciative she is of all his hard work with Colby. She told him over and over how proud she is of Colby and how Colby wasn’t getting enough help with his reading until he came to Project Transformation.
Colby and Alex’s stories parallel each other’s. They came in to the program as “the new kids” and they formed a friendship that has helped both grow so much in just a few short months.
Chapel Hill UMC
Name: Julie Whitehead
Hometown: Longview, Texas
College: University of North Texas
Project Transformation Site: Chapel Hill UMC
Why did you want to serve as an intern at Project Transformation?
I heard about Project Transformation through a class at UNT. I wanted to work with Project Transformation because I loved their mission. I love kids and have a passion for non-profit work.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from working with children and youth?
I have learned that if you take the time to listen and hear out a child’s worries or fears, you can help them through a problem. I have also learned kids are insanely observant and will comment about any change on a person they notice. For example, the time I accidentally dyed my hair purple, I never heard the end of it!
What is your favorite part of the Project Transformation experience?
Seeing the kids at my site improve in all areas! Ones that we had behavior problems with at the beginning slowly transformed. Other kids that had struggles with academics improved immensely! I loved getting to know all the kids at Chapel Hill.
If you could tell one story from your experience at Project Transformation, what story would you tell?
I have seen a huge change in one of our 6th grade girls. She used to argue at the drop of a hat, sass you over everything, and was extremely mean to the other kids. After multiple times of sitting and talking to her and breaking down her walls, she slowly began to change. The last day, we had a ‘field day’ theme, and she paired up with the boy no one wanted to be partners with. She also has begun helping other kids with homework and mentoring them. She has grown so much in this one year…it was great to watch!
This has been at incredible year at Pleasant Mound for seeing growth and development in our After School Program participants. One of our students that has grown the most is Christopher, a 1st grade student and twin sibling to Christiana.
As early as September we began to notice some differences between these two siblings. Christiana picked up reading activities and got through her homework very quickly. Chris was slower, sometimes taking the entire afternoon to complete what seemed like simple homework for a first grade level. We began to talk to Chris and Christiana’s mother, and she said she too had started to notice this at home and asked for our help in trying to be aware of what Chris may be struggling with. After we had Chris and Christiana take their first diagnostic reading test on i-Ready (our internet-based reading program), we noticed a huge gap between the two. Christiana scored at level while Chris was behind. We decided to make it our mission this year to really focus on Chris and his reading and to get him on level by the end of the year.
By December, I was having Chris practice reading with me, and I notice he was mixing up his B’s and D’s. I began to wonder if the problem was dyslexia. I spoke with his mother, and we had Chris tested at school. The result came back that he was not dyslexic but needed more practice than the other first graders with reading at home. Coming back to the program in January, I made it my mission to find activities for Chris to learn B’s and D’s and not to mix them up anymore. In February, we had a huge breakthrough by teaching Chris to learn b and d by looking at his two hands (showing a thumbs up) in front of him. I explained his left hand was a b and his right hand was a d. We drilled this into Chris’s head, and sure enough by early March Chris was able to do this on his own. This was a big success because we learned that Chris needs visual examples in learning how to read. The more visual we can make reading, the faster Chris learns. This realization was huge for Chris’ mother to know and communicate with his teachers. Chris improved so much this year that the interns and I agreed to give away one of our site computers we use for reading enrichment to him and his sister Christiana. When we told their mother we were doing this, she was overjoyed and so happy to have a way for Chris and Christiana to keep learning at home. I am so excited for both Chris and Christian to be enrolled in our summer program and to see how much they will grow and learn by the end of summer.
Pleasant Mound UMC
Filed under: 2008-2009 Year Round Interns