Tuesday July 5

16 Jul

This morning I got to sleep in! well…kind of. My alarm went off an hour later than m y sister’s! 6:45! So late. After hitting snooze a few times and finally turning it off, my sister came in and we did devotions. Even though the passages were long and seemed extra long because it was early, it was good. After  packing my lunch and eating my Apple Jacks, the Crosby’s picked me up. I got in the van and met another team member, Condido, aka Mr. C. (He makes films and music videos….yeah.) We got to the public school where we will be working for the next six weeks. We went into a spacious gym…there was a stage, a few chairs (that weren’t chained up. There were about 60 that WERE chained) and, wait for it: ONE industrial sized fan. That wouldn’t oscillate. In fact, it pointed straight to the ground. Perfect. I met
the final member of our team, Eric, who is a really funny guy who is going to school in Virginia for mass communications. He’s really nice. Then, we cleaned up our classroom where we will be eating lunch. After some orientation for the team members, we gathered the kids. We had 16 kids today and we were told we could have up to 40. In that hot gym. Awesome. (Also, allow me to reflect upon THE GIANT COCKROACHES IN THIS SCHOOL BUILDING. One of the boys squished one after lunch and I almost LOST my lunch. So gross.) The kids were FULL of energy. One of the things we are stressing is teamwork. The kids had some great answers as to why teamwork is important. Then, us team members introduced ourselves. Mr. C shared that he’s met famous people while doing music videos, Grace told everyone she’s 87 (I mean…why not?), Mr. Eric got lots of cheers when he said he was a defensive….tackle? linebacker? (I was paying attention, I PROMISE), and I was asked to do some on-the-spot acting when I mentioned I want to be an actress when I grow up. We went over rules and objective-type things. The kids had
SO MANY questions. They played a name game, which was also a speed game, so unfortunately I missed a lot of their names. But they were so hype to cut down on the time that they could say their first and last names in the circle. So good. Then the kids played a game called belly/back. Basically the kids are lying on the mats and they have to listen to Mr. Frank’s directions. If he yells “BELLY!” they have to roll over to their bellies. If he yells “BACK!” they have to roll over to their backs. They had a lot of fun with it, and the girl who won, was one particular young lady who I was worried about from the beginning. Let’s call her “Ana.” Ana has a particular attitude that goes along with the culture down here. But, she and I got to connect a little bit throughout the day, and I found out a lot of cool things about her. She wants to be a fashion designer. And GET THIS! She wants to go to Messiah! Her aunt is apparently a professor there. What are the ODDS that a random girl in my program not only has heard of Messiah but wants to attend there as well?! Okay, God, okay. I see what You’re doing here! Grace led the movement time. We started out with this thing (exercise) called 25 and 5. Basically I have done almost 100 jumping jacks and 25 sit ups today. The kids did all 100 JJ’s and a ton of sit ups. Then we did some dance movement to some really sick beats. Grace is amazing at what she does, and I’m probably learning more than the kids are! The kids are great! They listened attentively, and showed a lot of respect and excitement! At the end of the day each of us team members told the kids what specialty we were hoping to work on with them. I told the kids to be ready for some acting! We are hoping to do a video of some sort with Mr. C and Eric, and incorporate dance and acting. So excited. The kids got a chance to say what their favorite part of the day was, what they’re looking forward to and what they would change. They had a lot of good things to say. I am very impressed at their articulation. There was only one slight mishap at the end of the day, but Mr. Frank and Ms. Kathleen took care of it with great…awesomeness. There’s really no other word for it. After the kids left, we had a debriefing to discuss the day and any concerns we have. We all agreed that we connected well with the kids and that they connected well with each other. We also talked about any red flags we noticed, and how to address them. We are focusing this summer on “loving the kids back to life.” I went back to the neighborhood center in the afternoon, only to find out that my sister’s students were complete terrors today. I felt bad especially since my kids are wonderful! At the end of the time there I had a massive headache (surprise) and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Praise team practice was this evening and it was a great time of fellowship with some wonderful and beautiful ladies. One lady, Abra, is a lot like me, and we stood next to each other and Ms. Kathleen kept looking at us when we got the harmonies wrong. They weren’t really…wrong…we were just making up new ones! OH! I took the job at the Neighborhood Center…well…unofficially. I’m waiting to hear confirmation on the times. I’d be working three days a week and getting paid to basically chill and gel with the kids! A quick stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home to grab Munchkins, and here I sit. I am worn out, but ready to do it all again tomorrow! Please be in prayer for our kids, and our team leaders, and my sister’s class and my sister as well. We are really starting to feel the stress of the summer (THE HEAT) and we still have six weeks to exist with each other. She is glaring at me as I write this because she’s trying to sleep. Haha!

Anyway, until next time, stay cool

-Starleisha

Advertisements

New Jersey, Week One

3 Jul

Hey everyone!

I KNOW this is like…my fifth blog ever. But this one is for legit purposes: ENRICHMENT! Well, hopefully gaining enrichment credits. I’m spending the next 6 weeks living and working in Camden, New Jersey, and I need documentation, so, here it is! I’m hoping I’ll be able to write everyday, but if not, I’m definitely writing thoughts/progress down during the days so I will post them when I get a chance.

Here is a brief summary of my first 5 days in Jersey:

New Jersey: Day 1. Stayed in bed and read alllllll day. Read the latest Backstage magazine, and the newest Karen Kingsbury novel. Yes. All of the novel. I couldn’t put it down! Practiced. My sister has a guest room with a nice full length mirror, and great acoustics. However, my voice didn’t want to accommodate to the lovely room. After my sister came home, we attempted to get real television for 3 hours. Foiled=not watching “The Bachelorette.” Or, any other show this summer. She told me I got offered a job at the Neighborhood Center where she works. I hadn’t even been there yet! I found a HUGE STACK of Chick-Fil-A coupons with no expiration dates in the other guest room. I think I know what I’m eating all summer long!

New Jersey Day 2 (Tuesday) Went to the Neighborhood Center with my sister. We had to be there at 7:30. Needless to say, we were late. She teaches the 11-14 year olds. These kids are so very interesting. Despite all of the water I drank all day I had a massive headache by the afternoon. Bedtime at 9:30.

Day 3 (Wednesday): Sat at home sulking/sleeping all day. Then went to the Neighborhood Center for Teen Girls Club…but…no one showed up. Drove to Wal*Mart in Deptford only to realize my sister forgot her wallet. Home, dinner, then watched a few episodes of “The Waltons”  and finally crashed around 9:30.

New Jersey Day 4 (Thursday) On time to work! Yay! Had a good morning session with the kids. They listened very well during Bible time. Then I met with Mr. Frank and Ms. Kathleen about my summer placement! A KID’S THEATRE CAMP! Right up my alley! I’m super excited! They took me to Panera, and I heard the story of how they first met and how through Ms. Kathleen’s senior theatre project, Mr. Frank became a Christian! Such a wonderful story and I loved hearing them tell it together. Such a great example of a Christian couple. I got my hair relaxed in the evening. While I was there I could hear So You Think You Can Dance playing on the flat screen. That was a nice treat. Deep conditioner, blow out, flat irons…lovely! I feel so much better when it looks nice! Thanks, Ms. Evelyn! Chick-Fil-A for dinner at 9:45 was definitely a great/terrible decision. Bedtime was late. 12:15!!

Day 5 (Friday) FUN DAY! Bubble snakes, shaving cream, playing on the playground. Then breaking up an almost fight between two of the boys. Sigh. Thankfully it didn’t escalate. I got re-offered the part time job by the director of the programs at the Neighborhood Center. I’ve been given the weekend to think about it. Then around 6:30, my sister and I finally headed home for the Fourth! Starbucks and a few attempted food stops later, we were back in PA!

I’ll be back in New Jersey on Monday, and Tuesday is my first day at my placement which is also in Camden, NJ. I’ll be working with 3 other people (we’re all in our twenties) to lead/facilitate a theatre camp for a group of underprivileged/troubled kids. I can’t wait to get started although, I am a little nervous. I’m sure I’ll know what to do eventually! Mr. Frank and Ms. Kathleen asked me to do some research on Drama Therapy techniques, and make a list of some beginner games and movement exercises. I’m going to throw some voice exercises in there too. Time to prove that I really DID pay attention in all of my acting classes!

At this point I am asking for prayers for our leaders Mr. Frank and Ms. Kathleen, my 3 fellow counselors and I, and the kids as we get started. I really want to make this a great summer for the kids that God places in this program. So many of them have so little, and if I can help them have fun even for a few hours a day…that’s success to me!

Until Tuesday, have a great Holiday weekend!

-Starleisha