Charleston, SC 1 - Children (Post 2)


As my alarm sounded at 7:00 AM, I rolled off my air mattress and hopped into the shower. Today was our first day of service. We were out of the house by 8:30 and at the Food Bank by 9:00. Our mission: bag the sweet potatoes. Five large bins stood before the eleven of us—all filled to the brim. Small potatoes, large potatoes, rotten potatoes, moldy potatoes, gargantuan potatoes, long potatoes, round potatoes, butt potatoes. Mission accepted.

Our assembly line formation began with the person cutting the net to be used for the bags, a bag tie-er, people loading potatoes in, people holding the loading bag, and people tying the bag off once completed. Could we complete the mission in the three hours? We bagged and bagged those potatoes as the minutes passed by. David performed his acrobatics to hop into the bins and load up the bags, in addition to seeing if he could "score" the bad ones into the dumpster from three bins distance away. It was cutting it close as the twelve-o-clock hour came upon us. Our legs were aching, our stomachs growling, our feet throbbing. We had maybe one-fourth of two bins each left. Five minutes left. We packed and tied those bags eagerly. Four, three, two, one.

…We didn't make it.

But, alas, we pressed on. We were so close, we decided to power through like the superheroes we are. Only going 15 minutes over, we completed our task. Huzzah!! With great jubilance, we sat down in the break room and devoured our deli sandwiches like ravenous barbarians. Maybe that's an exaggeration. But at first, we were all so busy stuffing our faces that we couldn't talk.

After that, we headed to the park where some people went out to explore and play, while others stayed in the cars and napped. I was one of the napees. It was brief, but blissful. I needed it in order to energize myself for the afternoon ahead of us at WINGS.

Once arriving at WINGS, we selected our "nests," which were groups of children organized by grade and gender. Being a fan of primary grades, I selected Kindergarten girls. Immediately, they wanted to know my name, hold my hand, hug me, and play with me. At one point, the notorious Call Me Maybe came on, and we all danced together. We are the Kindergarten girls "Hummingbirds."

We were also one of the lucky groups to win a random drawing for a few minutes of free play outside. There, the girls showed me more of their dance moves where I joined in. While all of this was great fun, I was most excited for academic center. I could not wait to put my teaching skills into practice.

During academic center, I sat with three girls and read the directions for their homework. They were studying prepositions—next to, behind, in front of, etc. They were superstars! They knew exactly how to do their homework. After they completed that, they showed me some of their magnificent drawings. Masterpieces, I tell you, masterpieces! All the coloring was INSIDE the lines. And when one girl wanted to spell the word "blue," she drew her "b" correctly, instead of the common error of making a "d." I was ecstatic. The girls also used this time to give me two more names since my name is rather boring. So, now, I'm "officially" Ashley Glee Laclara Timona Byrd, or something along those lines.

After this, we went back outside for free play. We enjoyed playing tag and doing trust falls with each other. The girls also greatly enjoyed a jumping game where they would jump up and push themselves up on my arms to lift them higher. If I jumped with them, they would go even higher! They also loved getting picked up and spun around. It was so much fun! It reminded me of the days that I worked summer camp.

Following free play, we went back to our classroom where we enjoyed a read-aloud together of the Bearenstein Bears. They loved it! They were giggling as the nest leader used different voices for the characters. We talked about teamwork after reading this book, which was also great since each letter in "team" stood for something.

T: tell others my strengths and weaknesses
E: express your words kindly
A: act as one
M: make sure everyone feels included

I loved this! I cannot wait to take so many of these things to my own future classroom!

At the end of the day, the kids had dinner. This was an interesting site. Many of the kids just ate their fruit cups, nibbled a little bit on their spaghetti, and did not touch their green beans or drink their milk. The bulk of the food was thrown out, and even the food that was not served had to be thrown out, too. This made me sad, because I hate seeing food go to waste.

We left the school fatigued and came back to the house where we lounged out and snacked until dinner was ready. David and Raedeya made dinner. T'was a sausage fest. They bought so much sausage at the grocery store and the whole house smelled like sausage and the pasta was dominated by the sausage pieces. But it was delicious! The boys did a fine job and our bellies were happy.

Our day wrapped up with reflection and a ping pong tournament. My moment of "fame" lasted only temporarily. However, I'm quite all right with that. I needed to finish this here entry and then go to bed. Kids wear you out! I don't know how and where I will find the energy to go all day as a teacher. I applaud the WINGS staff, though. They are doing a remarkable thing, and it's an amazing experience to put myself in their shoes for a week.

Here's to a great day! Cheers!

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