Within the Horizons community at Norwood, “solidarity” is seen as us (the volunteers, teachers, site directors, teacher assistants, and program assistant) providing the students with a safe place to spend their summer while also improving on their academic skills. Through the actions we do like helping kids in class or just talking with them and the conversations we have amongst ourselves about how we can improve the camp, everything done at Horizons is with. Yes, some of us may have other reasons for being a part of the program such as fulfilling service hour requirements or figuring out the next steps for this upcoming year; nevertheless; we have still decided to work at the same program hoping to create a fun and safe environment for these students.
It has been a bit hard the first couple of weeks, working with the kids. Many of them come from different backgrounds and different family cultures. Some kids are the sole translator for their parents while others have the luxury of their parents being able to speak English, which makes it easier to communicate with us. Still, their lifestyles at home differ from student to student and from worker/volunteer to student. We cannot comprehend what their life at home is like, which makes our job a bit harder. Putting many of us outside of our comfort zone, we work hard on what we can have an effect on, which is their experience at our camp.
Update August 3:
An act of solidarity seen throughout the camp site today was our quick reaction to n unfortunate even which occurred at our school. The water for the whole school, which is hosting 3 different summer camps, was turned off. There was no water for bathrooms, sinks, water fountains, and fire sprinklers. We were not allowed to stay in the school to continue our camp day due to the hazard of having not safe way to escape a fire, if there were to be one. From 10 -11 am, we all (program and teacher assistants, teachers, and site directors) spent our time contacting all the students families to inform them of the current situation and the plan we were moving forward with. All students were successfully picked up from the school by 1pm. It was a situation none of us had faced nor really been trained for, but it was nice to see everyone work together, even the students helped too.