Today we followed the year-long volunteers throughout their daily routine. There are two centers, one on our campus and the other an hour bus ride away. Our group split into pairs to follow their respective volunteers. Some of us worked at La Marin, the center further away, while others stayed on campus. However most pairs worked at both centers throughout the course of the day. The volunteers help teach classes at the centers, make sure everything runs smoothly, and spend time with the children.
Four of us woke up early to travel to La Marin with the volunteers. When we arrived we watched "El Rey Leon" better known as "The Lion King." Then our volunteer Laura led us to our room where the "ninas" were learning how to make arts and crafts to sell. Today they were making rosaries, which turned out to be incredibly difficult to make as we learned first hand. Two little girls were trying to teach us how to make them, and even though we did not succeed, Ivis and Melissa remained happy and were glad to spend time with us. We then bought the rosaries which turned out to be very nice. The rosaries cost two dollars, which may have been a majority of their weekly income. Then we proceeded to the cafeteria where we came across many energetic "ninitos." Soon after greeting them we found ourselves throwing them up in the air and giving out free piggy-back rides. They loved taking pictures with us, and they were extremely eager to play with us. We moved this party outside to play some soccer. Each of us had a "nino" on our shoulders, and we took their direction on where to run in order to score. We had a great time with the kids, and the kids loved it so much it was hard to get them off of us. It was a pleasure to see the fatherly side of Heff. After this we went to mass where we saw the tight-knit community present at the center. Unfortunately we had to leave, but we were pleasantly surprised. We rode back to the center in the bed of Padre Juan's Chevy pickup; it's something that we've all always wanted to do. Padre Juan can definitely put the pedal to the metal. After eating lunch, we assisted the teacher with a first grade reading class. Later we helped teach adults how to type and use computers. It was a little shocking to help adults who barely knew how to work a computer, but it was still a good experience. We came home exhausted but satisified knowing that we had made a difference in the lives of the children. It was a very fulfilling day and we are looking forward to continuing the events of today next week.
-James Kuklinski '10 and Peter LiVolsi '11