DC Schools Project Love

Banner - DC SchoolsWhen I set foot on Healy Lawn at the first CAB Fair, I almost passed out. It wasn’t just because there was free pizza AND free cupcakes at my disposal. It was primarily because the options of clubs to join were completely overwhelming. I wanted to try everything, but had received fair warning: “find something you’re invested in and stick with it.” The application and rejection process that I went through in the preceding weeks was nothing extraordinary. If someone on your floor wasn’t in total despair after being rejected from Blue and Gray, there’s a chance you slept through freshman year. My first acceptance was into the DC Schools Project, a program through the Center for Social Justice that offers free English Language Learning (ELL) tutoring to immigrant communities in Washington, DC. I joined the off-campus adult program and was matched with a tutee from Ecuador.

I was very nervous on the first day. I had never taught anyone, much less someone twice my age. Though my coordinators assured me that everything would be fine, I couldn’t help but think that my lesson plan wasn’t good enough. We arrived at our tutoring site and all of that went away. My tutee was gentle, kind and so very thoughtful. Each week we worked on job applications or legal documents, but not before she asked me how school was going and assured that I wasn’t feeling homesick. My spirits were lifted every Saturday afternoon after meeting with her. While I helped her with grammar, she taught me about life in Ecuador, earning citizenship in the United States, and the struggles of finding a job here. I felt so at ease sitting in the tiny teacher’s room with her, even joking with my mother that I had a “fill-in mom” for the weeks we were apart. My tutee and I learned the ins and outs of Skype while preparing for her job interviews. She taught me how to use my Macbook that I embarrassingly struggled to navigate. On some Saturdays, we would just sit and chat for the first hour or so; it was amazing how quickly I felt connected to her and even more incredible to see the people around me doing the same. Everyone was so patient and charismatic.

Through all of my work with the CSJ, I have seen these kinds of Hoyas: students who are passionate about what they are doing and will do anything to help out a tutee. Students who volunteer their nights twice a week to visit grateful families at their homes. Students who meet up with Georgetown staff between classes to help them study history for their citizenship tests. Being surrounded by these people was the first time I truly felt at home here at Georgetown: “breaking the bubble,” as my NSO leader phrased it. I have found my family on the hilltop.

Photos: blogspot.com

Damn Molly: Back At It Again With The White Vans

Damn MollyIn the two and a half years since I got my license, I have hit cars on three separate occasions. To be fair, I was in reverse and paying zero attention at the time of each accident. Fortunately, all of these incidents occurred in my driveway (sorry mom and dad) and left me with a pristine driving record. With these skills in my arsenal it only seemed appropriate that I take on a work study job as a van driver for the Center for Social Justice.

If you are a student like me with sub par driving skills and a passion for lip syncing behind the wheel, allow me to paint a picture of what a workday could be like for you. To become a certified driver of the monstrous twelve passenger van, I was required to take an online course that took me approximately forty five minutes. This consisted of all common sense questions and was completed while I simultaneously binge watched Entourage. Once you take the course, it’s time for you to dive right in. Myself and two other equally unqualified drivers were given the keys to a van and a map and set out on the open road.

Our goal was to drive the assigned route and return to Georgetown by 2 p.m. We had lofty ambitions to stop at Chick Fil A and listen to as much awful music as possible. Things were going swimmingly until the first driver hit an extremely narrow one way street. It turns out DC residents love double parking almost as much as they love politics! The driver took her chances turning down the road. That’s when I heard “Girl you gonn hit that, girl stop right now,” felt a jolt and participated in my first CSJ van accident! We called our coordinator who seemed to care less, filed a police report and wrote a casual note to slip under the windshield of the car we had hit. After a charmed interaction with the Metropolitan police, we put it in drive and went on our way.

By the time it was my turn to take the wheel, I felt no pressure at all. If I hit something now, I wouldn’t be doing anything the other driver hadn’t already done. I also couldn’t wait to tell my skeptical father that I wasn’t the first one to get into an accident. My portion of the drive went smoothly despite my directionally challenged nature and lack of technical skills.

Now, once a week, I get paid to drive tutors to various sites in Washington, DC. In between dropping them off and picking them up, I go to a local Wendy’s where I get a ton of strange looks by patrons wondering why that small caucasian female is driving a huge white van in their neighborhood. After I get my frosty, I sit in the front seat, blast Whitney Houston and sing at the top of my lungs. The moral of the story is that I get paid for all of this and you can too. Support social justice, apply to drive a CSJ whip today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gifs: giphy.com