To gain a few more extra hours, I offered to help at Urbana Middle School over Halloween weekend while the Mexican consulate came to help many of the Mexican people living in the area with visas, passports, and other supportive aspects. Upon arriving, I really didn’t know what to expect while there, but I was very glad that I helped out and I would be more than willing to volunteer again!
I knew that I had to help both Friday night and most of the day that Saturday in order to make up for some hours, so I was a little nervous and not really sure how I would be spending all of that time. But when I got there, they actually needed help with the children’s activities, which was something I knew I could do. All night Friday and all day Saturday, I entertained the kids with coloring, games, and different physical activities- all while speaking Spanish. Most of the kids came and left as their parents finished up with what they needed to get done, but a few of the kids, whose parents were also volunteering for the weekend, stayed just as long as I did. I forgot how much I enjoy all of those children’s activities and the time quickly passed. At the end of the day, the kids were even upset that they had to leave!
I was happy to help keep them entertained, but most importantly I was happy that I could distract them from some of the work that their parents had to deal with. It occurred to me that these children will have a completely different perspective than many of their friends and classmates and it will affect them, for better and for worse, for the rest of their lives. They may face discrimination, language barriers, and other obstacles that children whose ancestors have lived in the United States for generations, but I know that they will also be able to share their unique perspective with others and grow as a result of it.