This summer 80 PYLUSD high school students played games, crafted, assisted students in coding, science experiments, and earned community service hours as volunteers at the 2019 PYLUSD Summer Enrichment Program held at Van Buren Elementary School.
PYLUSD Summer Enrichment program offers Preppy K through 7th grade students to take classes that are fun, exciting and challenging.With approximately 40 different courses, children take four classes everyday for five weeks, and have the chance to build multiple skills through each different class. This keeps the child’s mind active and give them an opportunity to explore new interests.
Summer Enrichment high school volunteers are able to gain up to 50 hours through the program, by volunteering to assist teachers and students up to four our hours each day. Because not all high school students can commit to four hours every day, the Summer Enrichment program does provides leniency for the volunteers and as long as their assigned teachers are informed, they can miss out on the days they cannot attend, stated Terry Mulcahy, PYLUSD Summer Enrichment Principal .
Mrs. Mulcahy added, “We love having volunteers in the Summer Enrichment Program. Because we have such a range of students’ ages, volunteers help us to provide lower student to teacher ratio. We also have quite a few classes that involve hands-on experiences and volunteers can help with that. High school volunteers are essential to our program.”
Many of the volunteers were also once summer enrichment students themselves. “It’s a program that I’ve been involved with since I was a child and once I found out there was a way to be a volunteer I immediately wanted to do it,” stated high school sophomore Kent Kawata about his experience as a volunteer for the PYLUSD Summer Enrichment program. “I played music, learned coding, drawing, illusions and many more during the program when I was little.”
The program benefits the students taking the program, but is also convenient for high school students to gain a considerable amount of community service hours. The PYLUSD website states that “The PYLUSD Community Service graduation requirement supports the belief that students benefit from the opportunity to make meaningful connections and enrich lives of others by performing service for their community. A minimum of 40 hours is required before May 1st of your Senior Year. ”
Mulcahy stated, “We understand that high school volunteers have other obligations that they need to fulfill. They can create a schedule that works for them, and also fits into the summer school hours. We try to be flexible to allow students to work with our program and to meet their own needs.”
High school students can apply to volunteer for the program by going onto the PYLUSD website and checking the summer enrichment high school volunteers tab; click on a link that sends you to an application fill out for the volunteer spot.
“Interaction with kids is a skill that can be achievable through volunteering, and high school junior volunteer Juliette Moore stated, “It’s a great opportunity to work with kids and cooperate with the volunteers, and helps in gaining people skills.”
Mrs. Kerr, teaches “Genius Hour Tech”, a class that helps students gain computer skills, as well as becoming better equipped with presentation technology and researching skills. With students ranging in age from first grade to seventh grade with she understands at the importance of having high school volunteers. “I could not do it without my volunteers. I have almost 30 kids each class and many of the students are young so I require lots of assistance. Without them I wouldn’t be able to run my class.”
According to the PYLUSD website, community service assists students in gaining the following:
experience meaningful ways to care for and share community spirit with those who have special needs
bridge varied ethnic, socio-economic, and generational backgrounds
develop life skills that apply to persona life, professional life, and possibly a future career
gain valuable experiences and exposure to a wide variety of career choices
sharpen and apply their skills in leadership, planning, implementing, and evaluation
develop a sense of control over their environment
work collaboratively with members of their community
Working in a busy school setting with young children can be challenging but many experienced volunteers have advice to offer. High school Meghan Patel offered this advice, “Be as honest as possible, and treat it like it’s your own work.” Volunteer Zidane Ras also added, “A few words for the future volunteers is to put on a smile so that the students go easy on you.”