CCE Service Ambassador Amy Zhao, Sayuri Ito and Taylor Squires discuss the BCUL After-School Program

CCE Service Ambassador's wrote about their experience working with School Children at an Afternoon Program run by the Broome County Urban League, or the BCUL.  

Broome County Urban League
Amy Zhao, Sayuri Ito, and Taylor Squires

Location: St. Patrick’s Church, Downtown Binghamton

St. Patrick's Church

In downtown Binghamton, there lies a small, unidentified building behind St. Patrick’s Church which serves the next generation of Binghamtonians.

Every day after school lets out, Broome County youth school district come to be part of the visit the Broome County Urban League after school program. This program allows minorities and provides after school support and enrichment for children from low income families. The mission of the Broome County Urban League is “to enable African Americans, other minorities, and the poor to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power and civil rights.”

As CCE Service Ambassadors, we decided to volunteer at the program in order to help these young students reach their full potential.

On our first day volunteering, we were all anxious to meet the children and get to know them. They had big dreams and creative minds. They were filled with endless energy and enthusiasm, constantly asking questions and remaining active and engaged. Our job was to keep them occupied by helping them with their homework. This included math problems, short readings and grammar exercises.

Many of the children were quick workers, easily solving addition problems and completing spelling homework correctly. Their only problem seemed to be paying attention and staying on task--like many adolescents, they were easily distracted. We understand that most of the kids want to run around and play once they get off the bus, but we remind them that once they get their responsibilities completed, they will have the rest of the day to play unhindered

We tried to keep them occupied with games, drawing and getting them to tell us stories about their families. We learned that a young girl named Leah loves to draw rainbows; another five-year-old girl, Promise, wants to grow up and become a dentist.

Once the kids are done with their homework, they are allowed to hang out and play games. We make sure they stay under control, as kids can get a bit rowdy!

It’s our job to let them know that they can do anything they set their minds to as long as they maintain their ambition to succeed in life. Even though working with children can be exhausting, we are excited to see their familiar faces every week and hear more of their stories.

Once the kids are done with their homework, they are allowed to hang out and play games. We make sure they stay under control, as kids can get a bit rowdy!

Turning this:
(A flood of overly excited, rowdy rascals)

Into this: 
(Calm and attentive rascals)

Basically, we are there to help with whatever the teacher needs, and we are there to be a positive role model and help them succeed in school and life. 

Future goals:

This program runs from around 3 to 5:30 Monday through Friday. We volunteer on Fridays each week and have made it our goal to maintain and develop Binghamton University’s relationship with the Urban League. We want to find a minimum of 10 students next year that can volunteer in pairs so that every day of the week there is a Binghamton University student presence to help the with their homework and demonstrate healthy study habits.

The Broome County Urban League truly believes that having college students interacting with the young kids every day could change their lives and inspire them to break the mold, finding a better path in life than the one they may have traveled before the Urban League intervened.

Volunteering at the Broome County Urban League has been such a rewarding experience so far, and we know that this could be an even better student project in the near future!

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