Owen’s New Classroom

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I found a volunteer opportunity here at a family support center (a homeless shelter). It’s specifically for families, providing them shelter and resources to help them get back on their feet.

For additional info: http://www.fscss.org

I was looking to do something to keep myself busy and at the same time, expand Owen’s homeschooling. This is the place where I can teach him what humanitarianism is.

I attended a volunteer training a few weeks ago for a host/greeter. It’s basically babysitting the front desk for 2 hours. I was supposed to sign up on the schedule but have been dodging their email because I didn’t want to do it. So hard to say no to such a good cause.

Finally, I wrote back and gave them an honest reply. I said it’s not what I had in mind for me and my son. I wanted to be more hands-on and use my talent. I explained that my personality type required me to be on the move constantly. Sitting at a desk at a quiet environment with nothing to do will be torture for me (& Owen). I asked the coordinator to please keep me in mind should she need help in other areas.

My honesty paid off because she wrote back and asked me what I had in mind. I proudly talked about my experience as a children’s event coordinator & host; providing arts & craft activities for the kids, hosting Lego nights, etc. this is where I would excel, I told her. I also emphasized that my son will be with me.

She wrote me back right away and Gave me two good news. One, she said its a family-friendly atmosphere and Owen is welcome to be with me.  Second, she had wanted to implement an arts and craft activity at the center on a regular basis. She asked me to come in to meet with her to collaborate.

The center is not like a homeless shelter you’ve seen in the movies. It looks and feels more like a center. It’s a place where I’d be comfortable hanging around with Owen, to be honest. They have offices there for the coordinators and an open lobby where the front desk is situated that overlooks the common area. The common area has a business corner, a TV/living area and a children’s section where I’ll be.

Our meeting was Monday and it went very well. I will be the center’s volunteer Arts & Craft teacher! Katherine the coordinator and I bounced off some ideas. We are going to have a sign up sheet to determine how many will attend. We’re also going to allow them to tell us what kind of activities they’d like to do. More importantly, we’re going to let parents sign up as helpers. Our first activity is decorating holiday-themed cookies.

Like I did at my community back in California, I will be taking pictures of the kids and creating collages and displaying their masterpieces and highlighting them on a bulletin board at the center. Starting January 2015, I will be volunteering twice a month. The best part is: Owen will be involved and meet children of different backgrounds. His humanitarian training starts here. The second best part is: I get to teach kids art and give them a sense of pride towards their creations.

Moral of my story: my goal was met when I started with being honest.

What I learned: My God-given talent is going to be used to make a difference in a child’s life, starting with my son’s.

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A Day at Hogwarts

During the Halloween Boo Bash at the Hands On Children’s museum; I met someone who told me about an upcoming Math Festival at a private school called Annie Wright school.

Annie Wright School in Tacoma looked like Hogwarts!

Annie Wright School in Tacoma looked like Hogwarts!

The school caters to boarding girls 9-12th grade. But it’s also open for boys and girls K-8. The Math Festival was free and we thought it’d be an experience for Owen. Plus, we saw a picture of the school building and we thought it looked like Hogwarts minus Harry Potter characters. Owen agreed that it would be fun to see what Hogwarts looks like. And you all know me, how architecture and creepy buildings fascinate me. We just had to experience it first hand. The math festival was just an excuse, a good excuse.

As you can see from the pictures, Owen had a good time at the math festival. He hopped from table to table. Each table had puzzles, games and problems to solve. Volunteers were there to guide them.

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Our next visit to the school was today, a Fall Visit Day. Owen got to experience what it’s like to attend school the entire day. He attended classes, had recess, lunch break and got to laugh, learn and play with like-minded boys and girls. He was there 8am-3pm

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This is Connor: this gentle and kind young boy was assigned to Owen. Connor, who is also in 5th grade, took Owen under his wing. They attended his math, English, Spanish, drama and music classes.

 

The parents also went on a tour of the campus. We got to ask questions about their programs and their tuition fees and what it included (like field trips to the Grand Canyon and Costa Rica. Air, lodging and food included. Not only that, but laptops are included in the tuition). Impressive.

 

While Owen was enjoying the campus tour, Richard and I went to the movies and saw Fury. (Finally!!). This particular theatre was fun because it had reclining seats. All reservable, by the way, in which we were lucky to get in on Veterans Day watching a war movie. This movie experience is definitely worth repeating.

 

This AMC theatre had reclining seats.

This AMC theatre had reclining seats.

 

Owen had stories to share. I asked him if he thought of me and missed me. He affectionately placed his head on my arm and said ‘no’. His memorable moments: watching Connor and his class practice lines for an upcoming school play, watching them play their violin during music class and meeting the class pet turtle and the turtle’s girlfriend named Jeffrey (a stuffed animal turtle and yes, with a boy name). It was comical listening to Owen tell us about the turtle. He was laughing so hard he couldn’t finish the story.

Owen had a great day at Hogwarts.

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