My Girls at LeMoyne

28 Nov

Although I do not volunteer at LeMoyne as much as I would like to (scheduling conflicts have interfered this semester, but my winter will be filled with LeMoyne!), I have developed close bonds with a few children at the LeMoyne center.

“My girls” as I call them are all around the age level of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. We talk about life, they tell me about the boys they have crushes on or the boys that they think are frustrating, we sing songs, dance, laugh, and at any opportune moment I find, I try and slip in questions or motivators about their future and their goals in life. “My girls” are very receptive to this; one told me I am “like a teacher but a friend, too”. These young girls have no idea how much I care about them, and how much I worry about them at the same time.

They’re smart girls, good girls, strong girls: too strong for their age, but that’s what they have had to become in the environment into which they were born. These girls are much more mature and wise than their short 9, 10, and 11 years. Although I see that they struggle, that their lives have daily hardships, I rarely hear them complain (other than the usual young girl complaints about boys and not-so-fun classes in school). These girls bring a smile to my face every time I see them, and I hope I do the same for them.

I’ve written before about how I go into a volunteer program expecting to be a role model to the children, and it sometimes is reverse; they end up being an inspiration to me and someone I even look up to. These girls put life into perspective for me every time I see them. They make me happy and they ground me; they show me that just because people are born into bad families or bad areas, it does not mean they are bad people (I did not ever assume that or generalize that, but these girls spread that message to others).

I care for all of the kids at the LeMoyne, even the ones I have to discipline the most frequently! I worry my presence in their lives will not make a difference, but then I remember “my girls” positive attitudes. Although I may only be in their lives for a short time, I think I will help in their journey. I think all volunteers make a difference, even if someone comes one day or every day. Just the fact that young adults that can be looked up to come out of their free time to play with them, tutor them, cook for them, and support them makes a difference.

No matter how big or small the difference our presence in their lives and theirs in ours are, it’s still a difference. It still means something. And that is why I still go back even after a really hard or tough day of volunteering.

All of us fellows and any volunteer continue their volunteer work because they know, maybe on this day, or the next, or even the next, we’ll make even more of a difference, big or small.





3 Responses to “My Girls at LeMoyne”

  1. wjamericorpsfellows November 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    This is beautiful, Marisa! I feel the same way! It’s always odd realizing that, even though you aren’t there all the time, you are still changing lives, even the littlest bit.


  2. Megs November 30, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    I think of all of the children as “my kids.” We care about them, we want to see them succeed.

  3. Alex December 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    I just love your positive attitude. You ARE making a difference and “your girls” and all of the other kids at the Lemoyne are lucky to have you!

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