Academic Service Learning

Queens Library on Merrick Blvd in Jamaica

For my Academic Service Learning I took a stroll down to the Queens Library on Merrick Blvd in Jamaica, Queens.

I had never been to that library before, but according to some other fellow SJU students that I met, the place got an unbelievable makeover. The entrance to the library is beautiful and the whole first floor is a rotunda. The children’s part of the library is off to the right with a first floor and a second floor, that is seemingly reserved for all the loud activities like the homework helping I was taking part in.

Clearly homework help doesn’t sound like it’s meant to be a loud task, but with at least five kids at each table it is. I had imagined I was going to be helping these kids out one on one, but I was stuck with a minimum of five at the table and I was to help them all simultaneously with all different types of subjects.

The first time I went was exhausting and I ended up staying an hour later than intended just to help two little sisters out with their math. I enjoyed getting to influence the little kids in making sure that they understood that their education comes first and to stay on top of all their school work. I was a lot of help with the Hispanic kids when their mom’s came around and I got to actually speak to them and they were relieved and pleased to have things explained to them.

The second time I went, I had help from a fellow SJU student at the table I was sat at. I had some of the same kids come back to me cause they really liked how I had helped them the time before. There was one kid cheering when we got his homework done in twenty minutes. He was going on to his other friends who had just arrived that he got his homework all done so early and now he had time to go buy a guitar at a music shop with his mom.

The experience was beyond memorable because although I only got to see these kids twice and help them with what they seem to struggle the most with, I thought back on how my mom would always sit me down and make sure I did all my homework as soon as I got through the door when I arrived home. The first thing I’d do was my homework, all by myself, and I never needed help but this experience made me realize that not all people are the same. I learned how to be patient, what with six kids on top of me asking me English and Math questions, and how to communicate things better to them and even their parents.

I like to think that I helped these kids out in some way, mostly by passing on the ideals of education coming before anything else. I even tried to explain to a kid how reading is the most fun thing anyone could do, as a bibliophile I was not exaggerating. It was a wonderful experience and I’d like to go back on my free time someday. It’s not everyday that you get to sit at a table and teach an eight year old something while they teach you something back.


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