from a chickadee: Julie
Chi Kappa Phi Service Society has introduced me to several different areas of service. From playing with pets at the animal shelter to preparing meals at the Food Bank, there is no doubt that I have learned from each of these experiences in some way. Although, the one place I really feel as though I have connected with the most is with our long-term partnership, Oak Springs Elementary.
Oak Springs Elementary is located in East Austin and is primarily a school to low-income students and minorities. Approximately 92% of the students who attend Oak Springs are economically disadvantaged, meaning that they are eligible to receive free or reduced lunches. Additionally, about 23% of these students have a limited English proficiency and are enrolled in bilingual and English language learning programs.
As Oak Springs Chair for this year, my role in this organization is to plan weekly volunteer events that include an arts and craft and snack portion for their after school program.
Every time we walk in through those cafeteria doors, the kids are immediately overcome with joy. I love seeing their faces light up when they find out what we will be doing with them that afternoon. There is no question about how much the time we spend with them means to them.
The children at Oak Springs are very appreciative of what we bring them. Since they are in a low-income area, they often may not have sufficient supplies to do crafty activities without the help from us. We also try to provide healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, veggies, and other items these families cannot always obtain. The children are always so proud of what they accomplish during the time they are with us, and we are proud of them as well.
It is very important to me that we leave a positive impact in these kids, even if it is just in the slightest way. After all, these kids are the future, and whatever I can do to promote their growth and well-being, I would be happy to do for them. The UT motto holds true, “What starts here, changes the world,” and I hope that what we are doing with these great kids does impact them to change our world for the better.