Learning for Life

Posted By: JasmineWalker
Posted On: March 19th, 2018
Attending: Waterford Institute of Technology

“What has four letters, sometimes has nine, but never has five.” I was told this riddle last week by one of the girls in my volunteer program. It took me awhile to get it, but I was cracking up by the time I figured it out.

This semester I’ve been volunteering every Wednesday for a program called Learning for Life. Kids from a local primary school have the opportunity to experience what it’s like as a college student. After finishing school for the day, the kids head over to WIT and eat their dinners in the cafe. We then take the kids to a classroom so they could work on their homework. The day concludes with the kids getting a chance to learn something new in either the computer lab, health building, or the sports hall. Currently, the kids are working on creating a newsletter about the CPR and first-aid skills they’ve learned this semester. By the end of the 8-week program, a graduation ceremony is held and the kids get a certificate to recognize their hard-work and participation in the program.

So far in the six weeks that I’ve been with this group I’ve had the chance to meet some great kids who always manage to keep me smiling. At the same time, I’ve also gotten to know and share some laughs with the other volunteers for the program.

One of the things that I enjoy about the program is how it stresses the importance of education. Sometimes education is taken for granted and so the Learning for Life program allows these young students to get a feel of the college experience so that they can get inspired to pursue higher education. Not to mention, the program helps to build their self-confidence through the different skills that they learn in the labs and through the interactions that they have with each other and the volunteers. And for someone who is constantly working to improve her own confidence, I am happy that I get to help the kids build theirs.

Ultimately, the Learning for Life program is a great example of how learning is a two-way street; the kids learn from us (the volunteers) and we find ourselves learning from them. From working with the kids I’ve been reminded to not overthink everything (as reflected in the riddle from the beginning) and to not take life too seriously. Make a joke or tell a riddle, but always find the time to smile and laugh regardless of what’s going on in your life.

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