Field Work Completion
After searching online for several days, I choose to be a volunteer to work at Neighborhood House, which has a project for teaching kids. This project is open from July 2 to August 14 at three different locations near Seattle. I choose to work at Rainer Vista, which is 12 miles from my apartment. My supervisor is expecting me to show up from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:30. The reason why I choose this project is my earlier volunteer experience. I enjoy teaching kids and playing with kids. When I was in high school in Orlando, my friends and I used to go with our instructor to help Orlando Children church on Saturdays. On every Saturday, Church would have volunteers to drive a bus and pick up homeless kids or kids who lack care from their families from different poor areas. We brought food, books, and other learning tools to those kids and taught them Bible. Most of those kids came from poor families. After communicating with those kids, I found out that their parents did not pay much attention to them and thought there was no need for their kids to study. I realized that if those kids did not learn how to be good citizens and how to take responsibility for bad behaviors such as stealing or abusing, it would bring a great potential damage to our society in the future. From that time, I made a decision to try my best to help teach those kids no matter what race they are.
What life prospects do disadvantaged kids have?
In fact, there are quite a lot options for the future for those children. There are both positive and negative scenarios. Children can become drug addicts or thieves who spend part of their lives in prison or they can become terminally ill due to lack of hygiene, irregular meals and substandard food. Children deprived of parental attention can suffer from various psychological complexes because of lack of proper education that hampers them from being productive and finding their place in society. However, those children still have an alternative to poverty. First, it is necessary to make them understand that they are the same as other children, to help them form an adequate self-esteem. Education is very important for these children. Educated children can live life according to a positive scenario, living it to the full and be happy.
What do they do in most of their free time?
Homeless children and children who lack care spend their free time a bit differently, although they also have something in common. Homeless children, in fact, have a lot of free time; they do not study as children from successful families. They must earn their living on their own because they have no home or no parents, or neither home, nor parents. However, it often is not earning money, in fact. These children beg on crowded streets, sitting on the ground. Sometimes homeless children do not disdain petty theft. Often, they are involved in begging or theft along with their brothers, sisters or friends. Children deprived of parental attention usually do not ask for handouts. Some children from dysfunctional families have to do all the work around the house, as their parents require it. They suffer from lack of parental attention and care, and in their early years, they are able, for example, to cook on their own. Other children, by contrast, because of lack of involvement in education roam the streets instead of being at school or behave like hooligans.
What kind of dreams do they have?
Most people think that homeless children are callous and have no dreams, but they are not. All children, young citizens, have their own dreams and aspirations. These children dream of simple things that seem commonplace to us. Homeless children dream of their own cozy home. They would like not to worry about where they will get a piece of bread tomorrow. Children from disadvantaged families dream that their parents will stop being on the booze one day or that the daily quarrels and fights at home will end. They also dream of education that will help them get a good job in the future and live a life to the fullest. Children belonging to other races dream that their peers will not mock and ridicule them because of the color of their skin. It can be difficult for us sometimes to understand that these children need just very little for happiness.
If they have same chance to learn, what do they want to be in the future?
Children’s dreams about who they want to be in the future are quite diverse. I have met children who wanted to be astronauts, doctors, teachers, firefighters, and economists. All those children understand the importance of education for the future successful career and life. Nevertheless, they also understand the fact that they cannot get education on their own without any assistance. All those kids want to have their own families in the future and be financially independent of their parents, or even help them financially.
What are their attitudes to their parents?
The attitude of the children with whom I worked to their parents was quite different. Some children, despite the fact that parents paid almost no attention to them, genuinely loved their parents and did not hesitate to talk about it. Some children did not express their attitude to parents and did not tell anything about it; and yet, I suppose, they still loved their parents. I also met several children who did not love their parents and did not hide it. They expressed their attitude to parents openly and said that this is because of the fact that parents beat them or treated them badly.
In general, this volunteer experience has given me a deep understanding of racial and educational inequity as well as understanding of the way of life of children who are different from us. I had an opportunity to meet homeless children and realize their dreams and aspirations. I found out what they do in free time, what kind of relationships they have with parents and peers. It was a good experience for me, although I was very sad and disappointing to observe those kids. Those kids truly need protection, and the state should do everything possible to help them. It is even not about the financial support, which is also required; it is about helping children to overcome psychological complexes and wrong attitudes, which will motivate them to become productive, successful people. Volunteer camps are very effective for this purpose as they ensure direct interaction with children in a casual atmosphere. It was also a valuable experience for me because I realized that people need so little for happiness. I began to appreciate what I have.