Barton Road After-School Program–Cheska Mauban
I remember planning for the first session of the Barton Road After-School Program (BRASP) in September. I was extremely excited to separate the children into teams and distribute straws and tape for each team to construct the tallest standing structures. Of course, I was a bit nervous because we had a completely new team to volunteer at the community center; I had no idea how the children would react to all the new faces.
Reflecting back on that first session, it was surprisingly very successful. When prompted to build the structures the children were first hesitant to work with one another: I observed the children take about ten straws for themselves and try to build something in their own corners. However, when encouraged by the volunteers to work with one another, the children soon all held individual roles to add value to the bigger picture of creating the tallest standing structure. For example, one child would distribute tape, another would build squares or triangles, and another would tape the square shapes together. Moreover, the excitement and energy in the room was intense as time was expiring and the children hurried to tape their last straws. I honestly never saw the children work together in that manner. So of course, I was extremely excited to continue the momentum.
Reflecting on the entire semester as a whole, BRASP had its shares of ups and downs; the program is still a fragile work in progress. We still have many challenges and obstacles such as enforcing rules, building a solid curriculum, and involving parents. But the entire process really excites me. My vision for the program is beyond bright; when I think of the program in the future, I see it with flying colors and sparkle in the children’s eyes. I hear laughter and encouragement radiating from every single child and volunteer. I smell freshly baked cookies and sweaty children returning inside from playing under the Sun. This vision drives me every single day to contribute to the progress and success of BRASP. This program and the children that are a part of it are and will always be near and dear to my heart and my own life goals.
–Cheska Mauban, Class of 2015