Monday, January 14, 2013

Saturday, Jan. 12 (posted on 1.14.13)

UEI2013 Blog Entry; 1.12.13
Location:  Milwaukee Rescue Mission; Second Grade Classroom; Wifi Active Location; Short, Student Chair.

Today is Saturday, January 12, 2013, our fourth day in Milwaukee. The Mission, Cross Trainers Academy (CTA), and the community are becoming familiar and almost home (er ... home-like). This morning we worked as tutors for Saturday School at CTA, the first time the school offered this option for students. Approximately twenty-five CTA students participated from grades first through sixth. We were impressed with the interest and commitment on the part of the students and their families: many of the students got on the bus at 7:30 am in order to be a part of the program. Who says that kids from the urban community are not interested in learning?

Our group of twelve (Jill Stegink joined us Thursday evening and will be with us until Sunday afternoon) was part of a cadre of volunteers who worked throughout the morning. In additional to us, eight other volunteers worked in Saturday School. These folks, ranging in age from high school students to ah ... mature adults (much like this writer), responded to requests from the school for assistance as tutors. While we don't remember names, it was great to meet these folks who, like many others, give their time and energy for the important work of CTA.

We began our day with orientation at 8:45 am and the students came at 9:00 am. The students arrived full of enthusiasm.  Each volunteer chose a content area and general age level in which she/he wanted to tutor and we tutored for three sessions, finishing at 11:00. After tutoring, we ate an early lunch with our students, followed by an activity time.

This tutoring time was a nice success. We worked individually with a student during each session. This afforded us the opportunity to give some concerted academic and personal attention to multiple students throughout the morning. We helped students review and practice writing, reading, and mathematic skills. It was amazing to work with students who did not complain about coming to school on a Saturday. They seemed pleased to see their friends, their teachers, and to work through the tasks to which they were assigned.

We continue to be impressed with the dedication and the effort of the CTA staff. Several teachers were involved with Saturday School, organizing it and working in it with those of us who volunteered. All staff contributed by identifying student needs and helping to plan activities/interventions.

Just to keep us going non-stop, we took part in several activities in the afternoon. Soon after the conclusion of Saturday School, we toured the Sprecher Brewery, which, in addition to making beer, makes several really interesting sodas (root beer, grape, blue berry, cherry/cranberry, ginger ale with real ginger, and many others). Some of the sodas were way over the top, but some were really excellent. Of course, some of us made the faux pas of asking for another pop at the tasting desk and were corrected to say, soda. Okay then. Later that afternoon we saw the Milwaukee Wave, a professional indoor soccer team, beat the Baltimore Blast in an exciting overtime game. After the game, we had only enough energy to grab an interesting supper at the Comet Diner, return home, and make a slow retreat to bed.

Take care.  More later.

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