Nothing says “college” more than a thrift store. Before Christmas in my junior year, my friends and I were running through racks of clothing, laughing at absurd dresses and oversized overalls, looking for that perfectly hideous ugly Christmas sweater. As we were laughing at a particularly heinous sweatshirt decorated with hearts and teddy bears, I heard an enthusiastic “Sara!” from across the rows. Looking around, I see a little boy from a previous Take Ten class grinning and running excitedly towards me. Pulling his exasperated grandmother along by her hand, he ran up to me and gave me a giant hug, almost knocking me backwards into a sea of fur coats and embroidered aprons.
As I asked him how he was doing, I introduced myself to his grandmother and told her how I had been his Take Ten volunteer. She enthusiastically thanked me for my help and began sharing stories about her grandson’s transformation at home. He had stopped fighting with his younger siblings as much and would come home and discuss the lessons he had learned at Take Ten that week. He recruited his brothers and sisters to help him decorate his poster for the contest and he would remind them at the dinner table to use kind words with one another. She said that Take Ten had made their home a much calmer place, and that she was so grateful for the skills that we had taught her grandson.
When the boy and his grandmother walked away hand-in-hand, I couldn’t help but smile as I continued in my pursuit of a thrift store find. Though I love being in the classroom weekly, it was refreshing to hear that the lessons we teach at Take Ten can actually have an impact outside of the schools. While I didn’t find the perfect sweater, I found in the relief and gratitude of the grandmother’s voice a new sense of hope that Take Ten is both effective and worthwhile.