Daily Routine of a Program Assistant for Horizons Greater Washington Through Americorp VISTA

My daily routine consists of waking up around 6-6:30 am, with the hopes of leaving at 7:30. I change, make breakfast and sometimes coffee, if time permits me to because at the moment I do not have a microwave to warm my milk. Between 7:20-7:30, I am walking to my car, my head praying that it is still there with no tickets. It is a fear I have had since moving here because of the amount of rules there are for parking, as you can only park on the side of the road. Some signs say you do not have to pay for parking after 6:30pm until 7am the next day, which means you have to wake up early so you can be out by 7am. Other signs say you can’t park there, unless you are a zone 5 driver. My favorite places to park are the ones that say “No Parking from 12 -2:30pm on Thursday” or any other day of the week because during that time I am already at work and have nothing to worry about. 

I get to work between 8:10-8:40, all depending on traffic and my gps reading skills. My first week of driving in DC on my way to work, I took the wrong turn and missed my exit about 3 times. Not only did this make me late for work, but it also showed me that you can’t really escape the U.S buildings or monuments. I had ended up by the U.S capital 2 times that morning and once by the White House, which doesn’t normally happen in other places. 

The bulk of my day does not start until 8:30 or a little later at 9 am. Usually these are calls from the parents about their child, most likely that they will be late or absent. Around 9:30, I receive attendance from all the classes. It is my job to then, with these names, call the parents and ask about their student’s absence, whether it is excused or not. Every phone call can present different situations, from no answer to the phone not being registered to the parents picking up from work. I am usually done with most of the phone calls by 10:30; however, it does not mean that my work is done. My job also requires me to remind parents about events like the pool or field trips, which are usually done by sending out a big group text. If there are any questions, especially for families who speak Spanish, I am the person to talk to. For example, there is a field trip form that cannot be translated to Spanish, so I am in charge of helping parents understand what and where they are signing. My position requires a lot of communication between parents and the Horizons office, but it also includes hanging out with the kids. 

By 12 pm, I am usually eating lunch waiting for something important to come up, or having the opportunity to hang out with the kids. The kids are probably my favorite part of the whole camp, other than being with my coworkers. The students are all special and crazy in their own way, which makes the days more fun and interesting. This job is different from working in sales beforehand because for one I am not trying to sell a product to reach a goal, I am trying to provide an exciting environment for the students. 

The camp day ends at 3-3:15 pm, with the buses leaving with the kids at that time. I don’t leave my job until 4-4:15 because if by any chance a parent is not there to pick up their kid or a parent wants to call me, I can be the first point of contact for the parent or the kid or both. My work day does not end until every student is at home with a parent or guardian. 

Of course, my routine every day is different and can range from being super busy to being chill and more or less student interaction. But at the end of the day, I am glad with where I am and the position I have.

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