By Thomas Mann, Take Ten Volunteer
Like many first time volunteers, I did not know what to expect the first day I walked into a classroom as a Take Ten volunteer. I was eager to see how much the students knew about youth violence. Honestly, I expected to find that the problem had been somewhat exaggerated and that the program would serve as a more preventative measure than anything else. As anyone reading this reflection might predict; I was surprised by what I learned my first day volunteering. Violent attitudes among the youth of South Bend are a real issue. Although my students were not constantly rearing to fight with one another, I found that an aggressive tone did often seem to mark many of the things they said both to one another and to authority figures like myself. I wondered if their apparent anger toward me was my own fault, but I gradually came to realize that either way – if I was accountable for their frustration or if I was not –it was my responsibility to do all that I could to help the students overcome that aggression, which is deeply rooted in some social cause. My help may be only a small step in the right direction, but it is a step worth taking. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a Take Ten volunteer and educate the future generations regarding violence and conflict resolution.