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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's good Brooklyn?!

Tuesday-Friday (10/9-10/12/12): Hey Brooklyn!

I started working at my host site, Brooklyn Community Foundation as a volunteer initiative outreach coordinator. I connect volunteers with community organizations through our website  in an effort to promote volunteerism in Brooklyn. It's been a good week of learning, meetings with staff members, and connecting with organizations in Brooklyn I had no idea about! The amount of need in communities within Brooklyn is endless. There's always a need for volunteers. A lot of neighborhoods are under served which leaves its residents not knowing where resources are, or who's there (organizational wise) to help them. A sad reality, but hopefully through us that will change. I am also seeking more volunteer opportunities so I can give back to my community, and be an advocate for people in need. Through  my work, I'll be able to attend a variety of local events. I'm excited by the opportunity, because it'll allow me to network and promote volunteerism in Brooklyn. And I can let my personality shine while meeting new people. Never know who you'll meet.

Saturday 10/13/12: Bed-Stuy Food and Family Day

Courtesty of Super Foodtown 
I, along with a colleague of mine had the opportunity to promote our organization at the Bed-Stuy Food and Family Day. It was a great turn out with several Brooklyn based organizations promoting their services to the community. There was free breakfast and lunch, tours to the local farmer's market, and a tour of a large local supermarket to discuss healthy eating and buying healthy food on a budget. The people who came to our table were nice and interested in what we do at BCF. I felt like a spokeswoman showcasing our brochures and expressing what we do. I enjoy talking to the public. I was talking from the time I got there to set up at 8:30am to when we finished at 2:30pm! I loved it. I hope to do more local events like this, it's fun and very informative. Also, it felt great doing something for my community, Bed-Stuy.

Sunday 10/14/12: "Hello my teacher"

I started my first ESL conversation class which I call "ESL Conversations: where speaking English is fun." About ten people showed up, all former students of mine from classes I taught in 2007 to present. I even saw my former co-worker and friend which I haven't seen in a while. There were a lot of hugs, "I missed you" comments, and "I am happy to see you" remarks. I was so happy I could've cried because I've always wanted my own class. How good it felt to say, "Good afternoon class, welcome to ESL Conversations, the first time I'm teaching my own class." The students smiled and said hello. They all introduced themselves to each other, and shared their experiences in my class. There were a lot of "wow" responses when some stated they were in my class in 2007-08. Sometimes I don't realize how many years I've been teaching. I brought donuts to celebrate the day, and we practiced directions using subway maps and Metrocards. They had a good time and said they will come back. My response, "There will always be a seat waiting for you, you are always welcomed." This class is free and voluntary. Each week is a new topic for discussion but it's flexible. It's student-centered, meaning whatever the students want to talk about we will. There's no textbook, I provide all materials, and there are no tests or registration process. Just come, talk and have fun. Welcome to my class.


It's been a good start being a NYC Civic Corps member, a volunteer coordinator, and teacher. I'm excited by what's to come, but I'm aware that there will be challenges. In helping communities, one will face adversary and frustration, but I'm willing to give it a try. There's a lot I want to do and I believe this is the time to do it. I look forward to starting grad school and already wrote a tentative schedule of class and study time (yes I'm over ambitious). In this process of promoting change, advocacy, and social justice, I won't forget to take care of self and do things that make me happy. The best part of this new position is I'm by the waterfront. Starbucks is close by for whenever I want a pumpkin spice latte. Most importantly, I have God by my side and He will keep me strong when things get hard. He is keeping me focused on what's important in my life, everything else is secondary. Cheers to a good first week!

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