My decision to volunteer with the Refugee Youth Project is based upon my passion in working with kids. After attending the informational meeting and the training session on Thursday, I am confident I will have the tools I need to be successful in making a difference in the program. My assigned location is Northeast Middle School in Baltimore. This service is designed to help some of Baltimore’s youngest members reach their greatest academic potential in a positive learning environment. As a volunteer, it is my responsibility to act as a role model for the children and use my interpersonal skills to connect with them on an emotional level. During the informational meeting, the volunteers were reminded that each child is different, they all have different backgrounds and cultures and therefore, it will take time to build relationships. My volunteer work with the Refugee Youth Project is related to the poems, “Suburban” by John Ciardi, “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby and the short story, “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe in the way that one’s surroundings and interactions shape who they are.
In the poem, “Suburban,” a woman complains to her neighbor about his dog that has defecated in her flower garden. The neighbor claims his dog was in Vermont with his son, which leads the reader to believe that there was a misunderstanding. However, instead of becoming bitter over the issue, the neighbor decides to remove it and resolve the conflict. People encounter conflicts every day in their community. It is important to learn how to communicate with others and understand each other’s point of view. I am hoping to garner the ability to see multiple perspectives and teach the ability to problem solve during my time at Northeast Middle School.
In the poem, “Ode to American English,” the speaker lives in Paris but evidently misses American culture. She identifies “Cheetoes, Cheerios, chili-dog diatribes” as just a few of the many small aspects of the culture she loves. She confirms her longing for this culture when later stating, “yeah, I miss em’ all” in regards to all the things she years for. The speaker is consumed with all the elements of a culture that one may take for granted. This poem relates to my volunteer work in the idea that different backgrounds shape a person; they impact how they grow up and who they will aspire to become.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” the main character, Montresor, murders his friend, Fortunato but feels absolutely no remorse for his actions. Montresor was propelled to commit the murder after Fortunato insulted him. The satisfaction of poisoning his friend with a drink was the perfect revenge for him. He attained a sense of inner peace after burying him alive. During my time with the volunteer program, I hope to help the kids recognize positive ways of communicating with each other. Violence is never the solution to any problems. The ability to communicate effectively ultimately creates a high functioning community.