Monday, July 10, 2017

Ashiana orphanage volunteering, July 28, 29, 30, 2016 (ATREYA)

Atreya Iyer
July 28, 29, 30 2016, 11am - 3pm
Ashi Haryana
Dr. Vibha Taluja
Supervisor contact info: +91 98159094331; ashianap@yahoo.com

Through teaching these students, I was targeting the social injustices of lack of education and lack of access to technology, especially for impoverished children. To me, these are worthy causes because in Silicon Valley, it seems guaranteed to us that we have education and technology, but many in the rest of the world lack what we depend upon so much.

Over the past seven sessions, I helped teach about 40 students invaluable computer skills, such as hardware, OS installation, binary, hexadecimal, Microsoft Excel, and Adobe Photoshop. I believe I really made an impact in the students’ learning. It was encouraging to see the kids’ enthusiasm as they would come early to class and leave late so they could do more on the computers. I hope that what I taught them really lasts a lifetime, as the skills they learned will help them in the future, whether it is for fun or even to help them get a job. I hope that the hexadecimal and Photoshop that I taught them was a good introduction to graphic design so the students can learn art through computers. Additionally, I hope that teaching Excel helped them learn more about storing data and manipulating it.

Honestly, I was very surprised at everything that transpired when I taught. Through educating these students, many of whom were my age or older, I realized how lucky I’ve been, not only to have parents who care for me, but also to have technology at my fingertips, and to have been taught for everyday of my life. I had also never realized how rewarding it feels to educate people, especially when teaching them things that could have far-reaching benefits for the rest of their lives.

Ashiana orphanage volunteering, July 23, 25, 26, 27, 2016 (ATREYA)

Atreya Iyer
Juy 23, 25, 26, 27, 2016, 11am - 3pm
Ashi Haryana
Dr. Vibha Taluja
Supervisor contact info: +91 98159094331; ashianap@yahoo.com
I taught computer skills at the Ashi Haryana orphanage in India during the summer before my junior year.

One of my preconceptions was that the children would be unwilling to learn, but luckily I was blessed with classes of students - some of whom were my age or older - who looked forward to learning every day. I initially believed that the children I would be teaching would be much less skilled at using the computer - that I would have to teach them how to type, how to use the mouse, but luckily, they were in their third week of computer lessons already. This actually made my work slightly more difficult because it meant I had to develop a more formal lesson plan. Additionally, I assumed that they would be much less proficient in English, and that I would have to teach them in Hindi, which is a language I am not comfortable in, but the children had been taking English classes for years.


During my first four lessons, I taught the students - in 2 two hour classes of about 18 students each per day - basic computer hardware, OS installation, basic binary, and more advanced binary. I decided to teach hardware to introduce students to the actual physical computer, and so they could be able to fix problems with computers or at least identify how a computer is malfunctioning. OS installation is a necessary skill when setting up a new computer, and I decided to teach binary not because it would necessarily help them with computers themselves, but because it would help to hone the students’ mathematical skills and introduce them to thinking like a programmer, as computer programming is a skill that would hopefully carry the students far in life.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

San Mateo Adult School Citizenship Classes (TIFFANY -- 7/7, 7/12, 7/14, 7/19, 7/21)

Tiffany Tam
7/7, 7/12, 7/14, 7/19, 7/21: 12:30 to 3:30 pm
San Mateo Adult School
Beatrice Dee
mayhaligue2003@yahoo.com

Recap: Over the last 5 sessions, every individual I have worked with has made a marked improvement in the 100 questions. On the interview she understood the definitions of terms more which I was really glad to see. We spent some time figuring out the difference between oath and allegiance. With the help of google translate, she understood more of the questions and I think she learned faster. 

I'm often exhausted after these sessions and this time was no different. I think it's because I care about their progress. Like any other person, I like instant gratification and progress. Unfortunately, I do not see that often in seniors. However when I do see improvement I am glad I made an impact on their learning and it makes all the energy I put into this worth it. 

I feel like adult education is something that really matters. It's encouraging to see that no one in this class is giving up. They show up every class and learn. Even though it gets repetitive and they are frustrated as well they are determined to pass this test and become a citizen. Prior to this point, I've never thought how lucky I am to be a US citizen by birth. 


I feel my compassion has grown and I am now able to form connections with people I normally would not have even talked to. This community is also a very strong and vibrant one. The classroom I work in has a convivial and friendly atmosphere.

San Mateo Adult School Citizenship Classes (TIFFANY -- 6/28, 6/30, 7/5)

Tiffany Tam
6/28, 6/30, 7/5: 12:30 to 3:30 pm
San Mateo Adult School
Beatrice Dee
mayhaligue2003@yahoo.com

I helped teach citizenship classes at the San Mateo Adult School the summer before my junior year.

My preconceptions were that the people there would have a good foundation of being able to speak English. However that was not the case. By my second visit, I was using citizenship to teach them English. Trying to make them understand what they were writing or saying was key. It forced me to realize adult education is not just a privilege, but a necessity for seniors. I could feel from them that coming to the adult school at least twice a week allowed them to feel a sense of community and achievement — something they were not able to feel otherwise. 

Coming into this, I did not realize how much individualized teaching/tutoring I would be doing. I thought I would be more of an assistant and help the real teacher with whatever they needed me to do. However, that was not the case — I was assigned to work with 2-3 individuals at a time. This really challenged me to take on a leadership stance in a place I was very unfamiliar in. I believe my emotional reactions resembled that of a teacher’s. For me, it was awe-inspiring that people over 60 years old were still trying to learn and achieve something. 


I believe I had an impact through my service. Throughout my first three visits, I primarily worked with the same 2 people. Both of them were from Peru and in their 70s. It was amazing to see how my work impacted their performance and it made me feel satisfied to see I was making a difference in my community. By the end of my first three visits, they had improved in writing, reading, conversation and the 100 questions (oral). 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

St Anthony's Padua Dining Room (JULISSA)


Julissa Torres
8/8/16-8/10/16
St Anthony's Padua Dining Room
Bob, Mimi, Lupe
3500 Middlefield Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 365-9664

I was pretty aware of the type of people who I was going to be serving because I myself used to go to the dining hall with my grandmother to get food when I was younger. However, this did not change the fact that I was extremely nervous before I went. I was scared that I was not going to be helpful enough or that I would be told I was doing things wrong. The next day when I arrived I was proved completely wrong. I was welcomed with open arms and the first thing someone asked me when I walked in was if I wanted to chop vegetables.I was impacted a lot more than I thought I would be through the work I did. On the first day I mainly only worked in the kitchen and not serving food. I knew that what I was doing was helpful to the cooks, but I didn’t see the true value of my work until I worked in the service line. When I was passing out bread, which was at the beginning of the line, I got to see everyone’s face who walked in. Among these people were adults, teenagers, children and “abuelitas”. As soon as I saw a little kid, it immediately hit me how important the work I was doing. In fact, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I almost cried because it it reminded me so much about my own childhood and how much I loved coming with my own abuelita. After the day was over I felt very good about myself. I was felt like the work I did really helped the people in the communities. I cut so many tubs full of vegetables and fruit. And I got to see the people who I served which was great too. They were all very appreciative and I loved seeing the smiles on their faces.