I was so happy to know that I was getting to go to REP because I love working with kids. I’m searching for a job where I can merge my enthusiasm for our community, my compassionate nature and desire to make a difference. With my education and experience, I want to bring a positive attitude ministering to high school students, college-aged students and families. REP is a non-profit that helps refugee students through an after school program. They help provide them with homework assistance to kids ages five to sixteen. I worked in an after school program for five years and I helped students with their homework and played games. By being at REP, it brought back memories of when I used to work in an after school program at St. Louis School. REP’s vision is truly inspiring by wanting to empower the refugee community by encouraging, educating, and equipping individual refugees, refugee families, and the refugee community. Through REP’s after school programs, summer programs, adult education program, character education classes for adolescents, college preparation classes, pre-GED classes for adults, a women’s leadership program, and Bible studies for youth and adults, refugees in Memphis have greater opportunities to become self-sufficient and independent in their new lives. Ultimately, REP seeks to become an organization run by refugees serving other refugees. A great example of refugees serving refugees at REP is having the older students help tutor the younger students.
When I arrived, I met Jules who is a refugee himself and I met Ashley who is from Memphis. They both have been working for REP for a while. Before the students arrived, Ashley talked to me about what REP is all about and what the students’ needs are. Their main goal is to focus on education. Once the students started arriving, I was told to sit at the end of the table. Before I knew it, students started coming up to me wanting help with their homework. I helped students of all ages with English, math, reading, writing, and an online driving class. As I was helping students with their homework, I felt like I needed a refresher course. I had to read the directions a few times to make sure I was telling them the right thing. But once I figured it out, I was good to go. It was very rewarding seeing their faces when they got the question right. I know I was making a difference through the satisfaction of their comprehension. The key is to make sure they can figure out the question on their own and if they need help they can ask then. The hardest part was keeping them to focus on their homework because all they wanted to do was play. A great example of not wanting to focus on their homework was when I was helping a boy with reading he kept looking at all the girls playing; oh boy do they start young. But in the end it was worth it knowing they are getting a great education which is the goal.
REP can always use volunteers. I would recommend this type of volunteering to any high school student, college student or adults. This is an easy way to give back to the community. Volunteers are needed between 3pm and 7pm; you can go for an hour or two or stay for the whole time. Whether or not you need service hours or looking to do something rewarding in life, REP is the place for you. I am very thankful I got an opportunity to go to REP; I hope I can get more opportunities to volunteer here in the future.
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