Part One from our AmeriCorps Members:
What I really want you to know about Kids on Course…
From Kara Mihalik, Grant AmeriCorps Member: We don’t only have an impact on the students that are enrolled. I feel like I have a connection with students all over the school, even if I’m just the weird teacher princess waving at them as they leave school. I get a hug from a Kindergartener every morning, and usually a hug goodbye at the end of the day. I get to sit next to the door and say hello to almost every student that comes into the classroom I work out of. And I love that I have these connections, even the ones that are just smiles in the hall, all over the place.
From Lynnette Volden, Grant AmeriCorps Member: We really love to be silly. If you don’t catch us doing something serious, you can probably catch us sitting in tiny chairs to make first graders smile. Or playing Simon Says with the line we’re leading down the hall. Or making up KOC songs to the tune of popular holiday carols and singing them in three part harmony, just for fun. Or making plays about Luigi having an epic heavyweight bout with the Batman-Hulk. Yes! We teach, and we learn, and we guide, and we help, and we laugh! We laugh because we love to have fun, and we love when our students have fun, too.
From Rachel Bradle, Harrison AmeriCorps Member: At Harrison Elementary, the staff operates upon three basic principles – one of which being “We all Lead: I Lead, They Lead, We Lead.” As I serve as an AmeriCorps member with Kids on Course, it is clear that this organization also values the leadership and lessons brought to the table by each student. The kids have taught me just as much – if not more – as I teach them. The Kids on Course team does not treat students as just students. They are treated as individuals with various personalities, opinions, and interests. If there’s one thing I would like everyone to know about Kids on Course is that the staff and AmeriCorps members truly care about the students and what they have to say.
From Becky McDonnell, Harrison AmeriCorps Member: The staff & AmeriCorps members are caring and effective when working with children. While helping children gain a love for learning, we encourage them to “dream big” and support them in wanting a higher education. Each child is different, which is something that Kids on Course recognizes and keeps in mind while enriching children in activities and academics. The combination of fun and learning has shown tremendous progress in the way children learn and feel about school from the beginning of the year to the end. I am looking forward to our summer program, and cannot wait to see the kids grow even more in their academics!
From Chris Roggio, Van Buren AmeriCorps Member: Kids on Course gives students an opportunity to get involved in extra-curricular activities at free of cost. This program gives students the ability to explore their passions. Kids on Course truly wants the students to succeed and they do this by following them all the way through college. They want to also build relationships with the families and to be supportive in whatever way possible. Kids on Course is a great organization and I feel blessed to be part of the team.
From Anna Rothgeb, Van Buren AmeriCorps Member: Working with Kids On Course, your daily work can be pretty variable. Even after you’ve gotten a regular schedule set up, there are always adjustments or small extra tasks that you should be prepared to adapt to. We’re working to support the schools, and there are always opportunities to put in a little extra effort to help the staff. Sometimes people get sick, or a kid’s behavior leaves the staff shorthanded, and you’ll be needed out at recess or lunch. Sometimes there’s a school event and you’ll be one of the first people asked to volunteer. Either way, you’ll rarely have a boring day. These extra duties can be a lot of fun, or they can make your day tougher, but they make it clear that you are doing good work in the schools and that the staff and students benefit from your presence.