When working with children, there are many days that go by monotonously. Behavior, homework, and classroom procedures can sometimes seem to be a routine. It is often a challenge to step back and look at the large-scale change. However, the changes in the children and families, whether large or small, are the very things that teach me and motivate me to go on.
Since I began with TechMission in August as a Member at New Life Centers in Chicago, a little 6th grade girl named Marcia has been coming to New Life for almost two years. Her behavior has always been a significant challenge to the staff, as well as trying to instill in her even a hint of motivation for schoolwork. After working with her for months, she left the staff feeling helpless. She simply didn’t care about anything! Through talking with her, we learned she lived with her disabled grandmother and received very little support at home. These insights helped us understand parts of her life, but we still wondered how we can help her during the programs.
Since working with Marcia the last few months, she has opened up to me in remarkable ways. She listens when I speak to her, asks me for help with her homework, and stays to help me clean my classroom after the children go home. Each evening I drive her home since nobody is there to walk with her or pick her up at night. The other night on the way home, she told me more about her family life than she had shared with anybody else. I have visited her public school classroom and met with her teachers to help provide additional support for her at school. Our friendship is still growing and we still have rough days, but I am thankful for the change I have seen in her openness and trust. I hope my work at New Life will continue to help her feel cared for and help her self-esteem grow.