Many of our volunteers support our classes as teaching assistants, lending an extra hand to our young artists. Sometimes, they can reach students that would otherwise fall through the cracks.
¡CityArts! alumna and volunteer Jazmin shared this story of making a connection:
“Last summer I was volunteering at ¡CityArts!. During one of the two week sessions I had a student in all of my classes so I would see him all day. He definitely stuck out more than any other student – he acted up and seemed unmotivated and uninterested about all the activities we presented to the class.
I thought maybe he just needed someone to give him that push; so I went to sit with him. After a couple of classes of sitting with him I noticed that he never looked anyone in the eyes; he put his head down. Every single time he started an art piece, he would completely shut down and start insulting himself, telling me that he would never be able to make something nice. Sometimes he would storm out of the class.
As the other teaching assistant usually followed him trying to get him to come back to class, I would think to myself, “WHY is he acting out like this? He must have something else going on.”
So the next time he stormed out of class, I went to go talk to him. Instead of yelling at him to get back to class, I tried talking to him. I approached him as a friend. At first, he wasn’t comfortable talking about himself with me.
But after a couple of friendly conversation he started opening up to me, very slowly and self-consciously. I got to know how strong this little boy was, how he had to deal with all these problems at home.
On the last day of the session he gave me a hug before leaving, he didn’t say a word but there wasn’t a need because the hug said everything. We made a connection.
That’s when I realized that working at ¡CityArts! wasn’t just about teaching kids how to make art. We have a program filled with kids of all types of backgrounds and sometimes they don’t need a teacher telling them what to do or telling them to sit down; sometimes all they need is a friend to ask them if everything is okay.
I realized was that I have the most amazing opportunity right in front of me. I have the opportunity to make a difference in these children’s lives. I have the opportunity to help them see how great they are. I also have the opportunity to have such awesome student become a part of my life.
At the end of the day I am glad I work for ¡CityArts! because it’s a program that can help change many lives.”