Eighth Grade Service Learning

Throughout the year, eighth grade students have been assisting members of their community and documenting their experiences for Mr. Sperling’s social studies class..  Here is a recent account by Karson Petty:

Helping With Bingo and a Word Game at Valley Cares

IMG 0019It was a cool, crisp Friday afternoon when I arrived. I felt a weird sort of confidence upon entering that I had never really felt before. It was like I was finally getting the hang of it and getting used to going there to visit with the people. As I entered I could hear the distant conversations between staff and residents.  Dawn the activity director’s right-hand-man Doug came from the dining room, gave me a hearty greeting, and directed me upstairs to where they were going to play bingo. I asked him if Dawn was there that day and he said she wasn’t, so I felt a slight pang of uncertainty because she always has something for me to do and she usually guides me through it.

As my visit proceeded it was a pleasant surprise to find that the residents were treating me less like a stranger, and more like a regular. It felt good to know that the certain awkwardness of first interacting with people was gone. It just felt a little more comfortable and I believe it reflected in my behaviour. I was a bit more perky and I talked to them more, also with a bit more enthusiasm. They also behaved towards me in that manner and I was very pleased. I was content with the peace that came after the awkwardness had been lifted.

 

I was there to help with Friday bingo and I was going to help a lady with seeing if she had the right numbers on her card. Doug was rounding up the residents so I had to help them sit down and get situated. When my lady got there I helped her get situated and readied my card so that I could sit next to her and help her while playing my card, but there was a new inductee to bingo so I had to sacrifice my game.  I pulled up a chair and my only task became to help her. I was a little disappointed because bingo is the only fun game they have, but what was I going to do?  However, I got a little into the game and quietly celebrated with her when she won.

There were cookies and soda there and I was happy to help myself after the game ended. But when I found out that Doug was leaving right after the game, I got a little worried because my dad wasn’t going to pick me up for another half hour and there were not any more tasks that were planned for me.  So I stayed at the table as long as I could and made sure every resident left safely. The residents were getting up out of their chairs and I had to help some of them, which I was happy to do since I’m always happy to help.

Then I saw that some residents were going down to play a word game in the common room. I decided to join them and help out. I felt dumbfounded once the game started because all of the residents were getting words and I couldn’t think of any. I happened to get three words out of one hundred twenty five. I guess I was just tired from the long week before.

I was happy afterward to know that there was virtually no awkwardness left between me and the residents I interacted with. If I go again on Friday I will probably help out with bingo and read to one of the residents, which I haven’t done in a long time surprisingly. This was the first visit when I was treating the residents with more confidence and that I felt they were also doing that back to me.