Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Day 7: Shadowing Program Event Success

The Shadowing Program Event was an opportunity given to me with such high responsibilities. I remember I went to a fundraising event for Mentor Tech Student Organization (the organization that I currently do community service with), this was before I became the secretary for the organization. The former president had given me a proposition to be in charge of the The Shadowing Program Event. For a while now I have been hearing about this program but that was all, just a mere idea without any action placed to make it happen, at least not yet. The goal of this event was to bring students from a local high school to the university but with a twist. Normally when people come to a university it is to see the exterior of the university and experience how the atmosphere would be if you do decide to commit to that institution. Important as that is because that is how I fell in love with my university for the first time, visiting, but there was just something missing. Like drinking a glass of lemonade and realizing that more sugar is needed to balance out the sourness. A balance was needed and that is where the program came into play. The Shadowing Program Event in addition brought the element of allowing the high school students to experience the whole college experience, inside and out, by having a mentor to follow along their day including where they may stay and attend classes with them.

This program had me drawn from the start and I knew I had to get my hands on this. If I had this opportunity to get a feel of how college was really going to be during high school, the inside and outs, then I would have definitely signed myself up. With this in mind, I accepted the proposition and I immediately started to get in contact with the high school teacher that was in charge of the students who would be attending, her name was Elizabeth Duran but as her students would call her, Coach Duran or Ms. Duran. I have met Coach Duran for the first time this year and she is just one of those teachers that you instantly find yourself sharing your life story with. Really easy to speak to, easy to get along with, and her passion to teach, no wonder why her students love her to death. It was a real delight to have her as my partner to bring this program to life. For the program we had, Advancement Via Individual Determination or also known as, AVID students attend the university but I hope that if there is a next time, that we branch out to more students who are not just in AVID but who are simply interested in the possibility of living that college life. If anything, I want to be able to provide the maximum support to students who may know or who are still thinking of what they want to do with their future because I know how terrifying things get once when you graduate from high school and you have to think about the next step to take with your life. Even for students who do not consider college as their first step out of high school, I believe they should participant in the program to solidify their decision that college is not right for them. Just like any parent would say, how do you know if you do not like it if you have never tried?

Whenever I can, I like to motivate students to get a higher education. I know after twelve years of going to school where the government forced us to complete, the last thing some would want to do is go to school for another four years, or more, to get a higher education. But seeking a higher education is important! Many situations are changing, social revolutions are happening, technology is advancing, people are pronouncing their identities to the world, to say the least people are starting to speak up whether we are ready or not to listen. What should have been said but was once afraid to share, are being laid out on the table. The twenty-first century is by far as I consider, the resurrection of the lost voices and as us millennials we need to look out for one another. In order to participate, that higher education is needed. The world is becoming a tougher place to obtain a job with just a high school diploma, heck, with a bachelor's degree things are still looking rough. There was this quote that I saw that set things in perspective for me, I cannot recall what the quote said word by word, but basically the quote stated how leaders of the world are those that you went to high school with. Now not as literal as the quote takes it but the leaders can be those who are roughly around the same age group as we are. Mind blowing, right? I still have a hard time believing that even in our teen years going into young adulthood, we can have such a great impact to formulate the kind of world we want to live in. Generation X, the generation before us, are starting to get older and soon enough us millennials are in need to take over. So it's best to be prepared and give this world the hand it needs when our time comes.

I got a little bit carried away, didn't I? Well going back to the Shadowing Program, this event took about a month to coordinate. It was not so much the planning that stressed me out because honestly planning is something I enjoy doing but some of my mentors had dropped out days before the launch of the event. Thankfully some of my mentors were willing to take multiple students with them to class or else I would have to go and look for more mentors with the time I did not have. The day of the event I was so excited, that the same excitement one would have the day before a field trip. I woke up that morning with such purpose that if this event were to go as plan and the students and my mentors took the opportunity seriously, my little heart would be very content. Seeing my mentors and the students come in, it was starting to click, this program is actually happening! Although I was not able to take any students with me to class being able to spectate was good enough for me. I was able to talk to multiple AVID students, share a bit of my stories as a freshman in college and learn a little bit more about the students. Such an ambitious bunch I must say. There was this student in particular that I had spoken with during lunch about how she was upset that she had to compete with this new girl who came into school with her for ranking and it totally reminded of me in high school! Which I found it really interesting that I could share that experience with her and that I am able to meet the future leaders who want to take that extra step.

Overall the Shadowing Program was a success! The event went as plan, the students came back to the Student Union Building excited for college and the mentors grew a quick connection with their students. Contact information were being shared and hugs were given out. Unbelievably amazing! To share this moment is why I enjoy doing volunteer work. The pay is not what I am interested in, it's how I can give to the community and how to benefit others. This day sure went into the books. Thank you Coach Duran for trusting in me to make this happen!

Would the Shadowing Program be something you are interested in participating or wish you participated in?

xx Chavelita

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