My experience with Take Ten has given me a window into a wide variety of students’ lives from around the area. In my role I go to the various sites and observe Take Ten’s Notre Dame Volunteers. This has shown me how talented our volunteers are but, also has shown how vastly different the sites can be and how adaptable everyone involved needs to be. The difference between a kindergarten class and a high school class are fairly obvious but, then you have to consider the difference between a class and a club or, a class and an after school program. I have really enjoyed seeing the variety of approaches taken by volunteers to create engaging experiences for their students. I have enjoyed the puppet skits, colorful handout and posters, discussions, and various games used to learn about and create positive relationships with the students.
In my own placements I have noticed a lot of different opinions and preconceptions students hold on the content. The key barrier I have seen so far is getting students passed what they think these words mean and moving them toward more constructive definitions that make them think about their actions in a more meaningful way. It is one of my goals to take students from a place where they cannot easily envision what others might be thinking to a place where they have empathy for others. I also really want to move my students from the idea where they are a problem which may never change to the point where they realize the problem is the behavior that can be changed with their effort.
I hope our volunteers have fun, the students have fun and, the schools feel the students are getting something from being in the program. Everyone’s true goal needs to be moving from an abstract discussion of the content to getting the students to actually begin using strategies to solve their conflicts and avoid violence.