A Day in the Life of a Project Transformation Intern
Acrostic Poem By Rose Thompson

Praying with and for our lovely kids
Reading many books with our volunteers – 536 so far, to be exact!
Overcoming sickness & sleepiness to grow in selflessness
Jamming with kids when we sing our Memory Verse songs during Morning Meeting
Eating family-style meals with kids & learning about their lives, their loves, their stories
Celebrating kids’ accomplishments, consoling kids’ sorrows, & cherishing them always
Taking time to listen to everyone we come across: fellow interns, kids, & volunteers
Teaching kids to love learning, themselves, and their world
Radiating positivity for the kids since they deserve it so much
Accommodating our kids’ different backgrounds & learning styles into our planning
Noticing what makes every child tick – what makes each of them uniquely incredible
Seeking to constantly better ourselves in order to give more to our kids
Fighting the “summer slide” by providing kids a safe space to learn daily
Offering handshakes, high-fives, and hugs to kids that just want some lovin
Recharging after a long day by a yummy Sonic team bonding sesh
Meeting new volunteers daily & getting to hear a little of their stories
Assisting fellow interns with site set-up & tear-down
Teaming up with my awesome co-teacher to create the best lesson plans for our kids
Igniting a passion for literacy & learning in our kids
Observing meaningful friendships blossoming between kids, interns, and volunteers
Nourishing ourselves with intentional community so we can in turn nourish our kids

 

This is Day 43 of my experience interning with Project Transformation. Project Transformation seeks to connect college students, churches/community partners, and vastly underserved children. All children we serve are below the poverty level, and many are homeless, foster children, or only get the 2 meals we serve them a day – and nothing else. It has been a truly eye-opening experience to see such amazing, infinitely valuable kids that, just based on the chance of their upbringing, have been so underserved. It is truly a blessing to get to serve them this summer, as well as learn so much from them! Moreover, I am extremely thankful for both the Curb funding and the Curb lessons that made this possible. I have to use creativity in the spirit of Curb every single day at site. Managing 70 wily kids with 6 interns is a task itself, while also igniting in them a love for learning, for themselves, and for one another. Since every child has a different background, different creative techniques must be employed for each child in order to maximize effective teaching.

I use creative techniques for behavior regulation, literacy curriculum, and in teaching my Reading Rock Stars. My job title this summer is the “Reading Program Coordinator,” which means I teach our “Reading Rock Stars” – our lowest level readers. This includes our youngest kids (ages 5-6), our Spanish-speaking population, and our most underserved kids. Our reading volunteers from the community are always shocked to see 3rd and 4th grade students that can’t even write their own names – not because of any learning disability, but because no one has cared to sit down and teach them. My job is to do just that – teach these kids how to read, and, even more importantly, instill in them a desire to read. Many of my kids came in with a very negative association with reading – mainly because they were not very good at it. Therefore, it is my job to make accomplishable goals for our kids so that they feel like they are good at reading – and therefore like it more!

At Day 43, I can already see the results of this: one of my kids was talking to another child in the church (a non-PT kid), who asked him “What do y’all do every day?” When my kid responded with, “We read!” and the non-PT kid said, “Oh, that’s boring,” my Reading Rock Star shocked me by responding, “No, reading’s not boring! It’s awesome! Readers are leaders!” I tell them that every day, so it was so cool to hear that it is sticking! One creative activity that I have instilled in Reading Rock Stars is “Thursday Writing.” On Thursdays, each kid gets a chance to create a book about a certain subject (for example, “All About Me,” “Silly Stories,” or “4th of July”) using templates I premade. Then, at the end of class, they all go up and sit in Ms. Rose’s special reading chair (that usually ONLY Ms. Rose is allowed to sit in!) and get to read their own creations to the class. I’ve never seen these kids look prouder than when they get to sit in the special chair and read their masterpieces to the class. This is just one of many ways I’ve been able to implement Curb creativity into my Project Transformation experience, and I am so grateful for both Curb and PT!

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All interns share a living space at Austin Peay University apartments so that we can frequently meet for business and team bonding.

This is the Photo Booth we set up for our 1st Family Fun Night. All the kids and their families are invited to a dinner and party so we can get to know their whole families! Over 150 people showed up -a record attendance for a 1st-year site!

3 interns waiting for dinner volunteers to show up and taking a second to relax!