Empowerment Squared Volunteer Reflection
Written by Denzel, Age 14
It all started way back in July, sleeping in late not caring what time you decided to wake up sounds fun, right? That wasn’t the case this time. One day my Mom received a call from Empowerment Squared saying Summer programs have started but I was way too old for them, so I had nothing to worry about. I could just go back to sleeping in late and finally having the summer I planned to have. But little did I know my Mom and Mrs. Ann-Marie had planned that I could volunteer for the Art, Soccer and Summer Literacy programs. I said “yes” because I didn’t want to seem rude but deep down, I thought I just ruined my whole summer.
My first day volunteering I was a little scared because it was also my first time riding the city bus and spending my whole week with a bunch of people I didn’t really know. All of these “what ifs” going through my head “what if they didn’t like me?”, “what if I messed up in one of the activities?” All these negative thoughts were racing through my head until I finally stepped foot into Empowerment Squared. All the staff and other volunteers were very welcoming. At first it took a couple days to get warmed up to everyone but when I finally got warmed up to everyone it was honestly great everyday coming in.
I had about 2 weeks in the office before the activities began, in the office I documented files and helped prepare for summer literacy. I also volunteered in the art program. Art wasn’t that chaotic it was honestly the easiest program for both ages. In this program my responsibilities were to set up the table and lay out the materials for the participants, I also helped facilitate creativity and focus throughout the sessions. On the same days as art, I stayed afterwards for the soccer program.
Soccer on Tuesdays were easy because it was a younger group and I just had to help them with simple things, such as kicking a ball. However, the 10-14 age group was wild because the Coach made the students do so many exercises. It honestly made me lose my breath just watching them and as soon as they made the volunteers participate, I was debating If I wanted to come at all on Thursdays.
Overall, my favorite thing about volunteering was the jokes and the good times that we all had. My least favorite thing was waking up early on Mondays and Wednesdays, but it was worth it.
After all these programs stopped, I was a little sad, but I knew summer literacy was going to be fun. This was proven to be true just by recalling the amount of times I laughed at the jokes some of the kids made.
I highly encourage people to volunteer at Empowerment Squared, it is not only an easy way to get community hours it is also a place you can meet new people and learn new things. During this experience I learned that I am very good at working with kids. In total, I volunteered 88 hours this summer and I’m only in grade nine.