Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Floods and Photocopies

A month and a half in New Orleans has flown by faster than I could've imagined. Two block exams and 14 hours of volunteering later, I'm writing my first blog post. This M.S. in Pharmacology has been everything I've been craving. It's a chance to prove myself and build a strong background for my (hopefully) future medical career. It's an opportunity to grow as a person and experience an entirely new city, which is particularly rewarding for me because I've lived in San Antonio for the majority of my life.

For my service project, I've settled on KIPP's Leadership Academy, a K-8 school on St. Claude. I'd worked with KIPP during college, so I was eager to continue this relationship. The teachers and staff at the school are busy every waking second of their day, so any help we provide is a godsend to them. Me and 5-6 other classmates spend two hours every Friday afternoon completing whatever jobs they ask of us. We've made bus posters that instruct the little kiddos which bus to get on so they can get home, sorted school supplies to each of the 20 homerooms, and most recently, made thousands of photocopies of books for each class. Every week, each grade reads a new book so they can be exposed to literature above their reading level. Each book is photocopied into 100 copies. There are 20 weeks and 5 grades. It's a lot of copies. Last week, me and three other friends spent 2 hours in a cramped copy room using a lot of paper. We made it through 8 weeks of 1st grade's books. There's still much to be done. Although it seemed menial, teachers were undeniably grateful. Any time they spent not making copies was time spent with their students.

Last weekend a few of us drove to Baton Rouge to volunteer for those affected by the recent floods. We arrived at 9 A.M. and demolished someone's house. This was incredibly heartbreaking, more so than the images of high water and stranded residents. With the water receded, all that was left were destroyed possessions and an uninhabitable home. This sorrow was magnified when you pictured the thousands of people affected by similar circumstances, often without any help at all. It was long and tiresome work, but incredibly rewarding. I plan on going back in the coming weeks because it is not something that is completed in a day, but rather, months.

August Hours -
KIPP - 6
Baton Rouge - 8

Total Hours this semester - 14