Monday, May 4, 2009

Team Indianapolis Survives Global Youth Service Day...Barely.

Kids. Who doesn’t love them, right? Well, hopefully team Indy still loves them after our experience at Clark-Pleasant Intermediate School. For our Global Youth Service Day experience, we teamed up with the Peer Helpers of Whiteland Community High School. The Peer Helpers had organized a pirate themed evening full of activities to help the Clark-Pleasant Elementary School fourth grade students transition to the Clark-Pleasant Intermediate School fifth grade. It was so great to be able to work with high school students that had already fostered a love for service.

When we arrived at Clark-Pleasant Intermediate School, I think each member of Team Indianapolis was thinking, “Save me.” The first thing we saw was a cafeteria full of little fourth graders running around and doing art projects along side a large group of turquoise shirt-clad high school Peer Helpers. Wow. There was a lot going on. We were led to an auxiliary room where we met Alex, a Peer Helper with the phrase “future leader” written all over his face. Not literally, but let’s just say Alex knew what was going on at all times.

While the rest of the Peer Helpers were working with the kids in the cafeteria, Team Indy made a game plan…regarding the games. Yup. That’s right. We were put in charge of the game room. In other words, mass chaos. We had Red Light-Green Light, Down by the Banks, Salt and Pepper, and Parrot Parrot Pirate (formerly known as Duck Duck Goose). It’s definitely been a while since any of us have played these games. After a brief refresher from our man Alex, we were ready to go…or so we thought.

The kids starting coming in droves, and they immediately ran toward the twenty plus balloons in the center of the room. (SIDENOTE: Never EVER give balloons to fourth graders. Trust Team Indy. It’s not a pretty sight.) With the help of the Peer Helpers, we calmed the kids down, recovered some of the balloons, and split the kids into groups.

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!! The next thirty minutes were such a blur I don’t think I can adequately recount them. I did, however, learn that I didn’t fully remember the rules of Duck Duck Goose. How soon we forget…right? In all seriousness, I think the fourth graders really enjoyed this portion of their evening. It was easy for them to let loose, meet some new friends, and have fun. It was also a great opportunity for the Peer Helpers to get exposure to AmeriCorps and see how they can use their passion for service in the future.

After the games, we helped the Peer Helpers gather the kids and shooed them back into the cafeteria. It took us a while to catch our breaths and register what just happened, but in the end I think everyone, Team Indy, the Clark-Pleasant Elementary fourth graders, and the Whiteland Community High School Peer Helpers, truly enjoyed the experience.

Emily Kitchin
Team Indianapolis
National AIDS Fund AmeriCorps/Caring Counts 2008-2009

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