Reflections 2008 - 2009

"Before the fall of 2008 I had never volunteered in my life. Doing the service learning component of my Sociology class this semester has fundamentally changed the way I see my debt to my community. I used to be one of those people who sat around shaking my head about how bad it was in our society and how the government should do more about it. From volunteering on the Seeds at City Organic Farm I have learned that we are responsible for making our world a better place to live in, and that people can make a big difference in just a few hours a week.

I learned not only about civic duty, but also how easy it is to live a greener lifestyle. I took what I learned on the Farm and started composting at home and growing my own garden in the back yard. I have been growing different lettuces and tomatoes, and it is so amazing how different they taste from all the stuff you buy in the grocery store. I am even going to attempt to grow some corn come spring.

I am so happy that we had a service learning component for sociology 101 this semester and I fully intend to continue serving my community and learning from it in return."

Brittany Graham-Armstrong
Sociology 101

"As this second semester at City College comes to an end, I can say that I have learned quite a bit from one particular Professor, Francisco Moreno. This is my second course with him, and I have learned not only that it is important to educate children on what’s going on in the community, but also that there is a particular way that can get the students to listen. This is through the Service Learning program at City College. I have had the opportunity to assist for the Women’s basketball team here at City College as my Service Learning project. I have no doubts in my mind that this was an educating experience, because I learned so much, both from my Professor and the head coach. However, Service Learning is also about helping in the community, and I did my best in that endeavor.

The City College Women’s basketball team is full of heart, dedication, and love; love for the game of basketball. I chose coaching as my project because I had many mentors that were my coaches, and I learned so much from each of them, as well as learning how to grow up as a successful, independent, young woman, to have goals to succeed in life. I got the chance to meet a great coaching staff, including head coach Heidi Souror, who has taught me many great things. I also had the pleasure of helping to coach an excellent group of twelve aspiring athletes. Coach Souror welcomed me into her program, letting me shadow her every move.  Her profession is something that I would like to do in my near future. Her passion for coaching and her passion for her team is something that I would like to experience in my future as a head coach someday. I have watched many coaches, and it is the same sport, same game, and same rules. However, it is the inside of a person that shows on that court. The emotion, the heart, and that feeling are what I want to feel as a coach.

Along with learning the strategy of coaching, the Service Learning project is something that can help me better educate my team, as well as my students. I want to learn ways that will let me better myself as an educator, as well as a better person. The Service Learning project is meaningful to me also because I have learned patience, as well as different methods to listen. I like to see smiles on people’s faces, I love to educate, I love to teach, I love to succeed, and Service Learning will definitely help me do that. I have a feeling that Service Learning is going to benefit me in my future career, and I can also pass it on to others, because I will help more people to succeed. Service Learning is better helping the community, because it gives students the chance to have other mentors, and other peers, with the volunteers that help through their classes. It was personally fun for me, because I was at the same level as the team. I have been in their situations, I have shed tears, I have won games, and I have lost games. Before the big game, boyfriends have broken my heart, I have had family problems, I have had money problems, I have lost people close to me, I have grown up independent, and I have fought my way through obstacles; I have been there, done that. I feel that my time coaching has benefited the team because I know that game, and I know that it is easier, as a past basketball player, to feel comfortable with your coaches, to feel that as an individual, someone has someone to be there. It is beneficial to have a leader, especially a leader that shares the some interests as you, someone who can relate to the different things life puts in our path. I wanted to do my best in helping these girls, not only as a coach, but most importantly, as a friend.

To be completely honest, I was not a fan of the Service Learning project last semester, when I was a mentor-teacher shadowing at Balboa City School. I had fun, but I didn’t understand the concept of Service Learning and how the community service hours and time put in was going to benefit me and my life in the teaching world. But now, I see how extremely important it is for children in high school, and even college students, to enjoy the company of someone on their level, someone who isn’t just here to drill education and teamwork. It is also about someone who wants to be there to listen and be an excellent role model. I have wanted nothing more that for people to appreciate my presence in a room, for the greater good of life, and I want to continue to do my best in pursuing that goal. Now, I see that all of the past and future hours put in through helping out the community will help my life, and I am extremely excited to make it to the finish line."

Stephanie Cardenas
Sociology 125

"The service learning assignment was the first of its kind for me at college.  To go out into the real world for a class was very useful. I was surprised at how helpful the staff and everyone involved were.  For me personally, it was a pivotal point for my education.  Until now, I have been majoring in History with the tentative plan to become a teacher.  History has always interested me and I will receive my associate’s degree in it but recently my career path has changed course.  The service learning assignment forced me, in a sense to take an inventory of my life goals and take action.  I had been working with the Department of Veteran Affairs since I got out of the military in March of 2005.  The friendships that I made there have been very helpful in my transition, both personal and professional.  However, I never had considered actually working there as a career in the future.  The thought of Psychology and counseling came up; but when I got this assignment it made more relevant and realistic sense to become a Veteran case manager, this would require a Social Service degree.  For this assignment I investigated into the daily life of a veteran case manager.  Some days I just helped out around the office while others I helped construct a VA website that was civilian run that veterans could go to.  The project was both a pleasure and rewarding to be involved in.  Many Veterans have sent me emails saying that it has been a useful source of information, while others just like to have a safe place to vent, which it is since it is civilian operated. (Me!)  The more useful days were spent with Michael Kilmer, OIF/OEF Lead Veteran Case Manager.  For the parts I was allowed to help and learn I did, soaking up as much knowledge as I could.  The research paper, along with this assignment has given me more focus and drive to succeed in the civilian world now that I have an idea what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I was surprised at how much of a relief that was to me.  I plan on continuing my internship at the VA for the foreseeable future.  The relationships that I’m developing are going to help me gain a place in the VA for a career in the years to come.  Now I realize that although I have much more time to finish my education, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and pays well, but more importantly is rewarding.  Due to my long standing friendship with Michael I enjoy flexibility on the days and hours I worked.  HE just wants to help me succeed and is glad I’m not joining the police department like I planned on years ago.  Overall this was a great assignment and was completely relevant to the rest of my life."

Todd Vance
Soc. 110

When I was presented with this assignment, I felt that it was an opportune time to do some volunteer service in my community. I found the experience to be rewarding because I knew that in a small way I was helping out the homeless community. Saint Vincent de Paul provided food for about nine hundred people per meal. I was amazed to see how many people we were able to feed for one meal. The whole process was done in an organized and swift manner so that an abundant amount of people could be fed. The whole experience changed my life because I was able to have a first hand account of homelessness in our community as well in our country. My whole view of homelessness has changed because I fed people who I would have never thought were homeless. Homelessness does not just affect one specific group; it affects a variety of people including families, elderly, and adolescents.

As small as my contribution of service was to the whole process, I feel that I benefited the community. I hope that I was able to relay the message to at least one person that I do care about his or her situation and that I am there to help him or her even if it is just serving food. My contribution to the community was my willingness to help and volunteer my time and service to help those who are less fortunate. In class we have discussed social problems affecting our society such as divorce, drug addiction, and sexual abuse. These problems and homelessness especially affect the family because it causes stress for all members which is unhealthy for the family. As I fed families and adolescents, it made me realize the severity of homelessness in our country which is especially prevalent due to the economic turmoil our country is in.

It is hard to pinpoint one moment during my volunteer service. As a whole, the experience was meaningful because of the gratitude that I received from the people I served. Many of them would tell me “Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to help us out” which made the whole experience worthwhile. One memorable experience that I had was with a mother and child. I assisted the mother with her son who was about two years old. I seated her at a table that was assigned to families and we had a brief moment to talk to one another. She told me about her son and her daily struggles in trying to provide basic needs for him. I encouraged Mary and told her that she was doing the best she could do for herself and her son. It made me realize how thankful I was to be where I am in my life. I would want to share with others that helping out the community is a rewarding experience not only does it benefit the community you are servicing but enriches you as a person.

Deborah Im
Child Development 141

The A.B. and Jesse Polinsky Children's center is the place where children who are suspected or found to be at risk for child abuse stay for a few weeks until they get either returned to their parents or established elsewhere. This center provides a safe and secure environment for children up to 17 years old. The Child Abuse Prevention Foundation continues to support the Polinsky Children’s Center which opened up in 1994. Already it has provided a temporary home for thousands of children and will continue to provide such care.

My experience as a volunteer in this place is one that I will never forget. Although my volunteer work didn’t make a huge difference to the center, I feel it made a difference in me. As a person with a psychology major, I was fascinated with the idea of working in a place where I can observe and learn more about those undergoing difficult situations in their lives. Playing with the children who were once in danger of child abuse made me feel as if I could take away their minds off of possible scars and damaged memories they carry. I felt like I created a new positive memory in them which helped relieve and push out some of the bad ones. There’s more that I wish I could do in order to help them out. But getting the experience of working with such wonderful children made me feel like I was also a part of Polinsky Children’s Center.


Volunteering at Paradise Valley Hospital was an amazing experience. It was worth the effort because it aloud me to help patients in many ways. One way that I was able to assist while volunteering was by transporting important patient documents throughout the entire hospital. I delivered documents to admissions, medical records and pathology. Another way I provided support to patients was by just listening and talking to them everyday. I greeted the patients who I discharging and listen how their experience was at hospital. This experience also helped me to realize that each person working at Paradise Valley from volunteers to Doctors make good patient care happen. Giving my time and learning about how the hospital functions has been a overwhelming and exciting experience that will benefit me in my future career as a psychiatrist. I strongly recommend others to join the service learning because it is an unforgettable experience.

Abigail Lopez
Sociology 101

Service Learning: Cortez Hill Academy

Not a lot of people know bout Cortez Hill Academy (CHA). CHA is a charter high school located in downtown San Diego on A Street and between First and Second Avenues. I learned about CHA when my sister began attending in 2005. Unfortunately, the school will not exist next academic school year for lack of funds and other problems.

I have been volunteering at CHA since my sister was a freshman and during my time volunteering at this high school, I did several things. One of the first things I did was participate in the Art Walks held in Little Italy. At these events, I made bag hats/art hats out of paper grocery bags, made sure there was enough paint and decorations available for the artistic abilities of little kids, and cleaned up after the event ended. I did the same thins when I volunteered at the Ocean Beach Street Fair in Ocean Beach and at the Art Walk by the Bay in Seaport Village. I was at both events for two years.

During my time volunteering at CHA, I also made information packets regarding the attendance of community colleges for when the students are finished with high school. After I made the packets, I presented sophomores and seniors with the information and let them know that there is another option to going straight to a university after high school. I did this because a lot of students think that they are not college/university material when they really are.

Every year in December, CHA holds Winter Fest. At Winter Fest, some students perform a talent during the talent show portion of the event. At the end, the better performers receive a prize. Due to the fact that CHA is a liberal arts high school that specializes in the arts, there is also a silent auction of paintings, photography, and other crafts the students themselves created. I once bought some wine glasses that have painted dragonflies on them. At the event, there is also food which is where I come in; for several Winter Fests, I usually brought cookies in. I also once bought a raffle ticket and won something through that.

One of my most recent volunteering episodes was within the last month or so. I was asked by the principal, Mrs. Hicks, if I wanted to be a judge for the seniors’ exhibitions. I agreed and thus I was assigned to be a judge along with two other members of the community; a former CHA student and a local business man. We judged three students; two of them are planning on being students within the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) and one is to go directly to San Diego State University (SDSU). Throughout the judging, we let the students present and we commented and made suggestions as to what we think is a possible route for their college career. To the two students that are to attend SDCCD, I made the suggestion that they enroll in the Summer Readiness Program, take a Personal Growth class, and to keep their grades high so as to be able to qualify for more scholarships. I would have suggested something similar to the student going to SDSU, but I do not know how they operate there.

Overall, I really enjoyed myself whenever I went to CHA. I made friends with the students along with the faculty and staff. Although many of them call me Sister or Amy’s Sister because they are usually do not believe that my name really is Alfa, I think I have made a positive impact these last four years of CHA’s existence.

Alfa Santos
Sociology 150

The experience that is most rewarding about volunteering at Interfaith Shelter is the time that I spend with the children. Over the course of several weeks I have gotten to know these children, how great they are, and how fun they are to be around. After a long week of interacting with mostly adults, it is refreshing to spend time with young people who are so accepting and playful.

Although I still have a lot to learn, I feel that I am able to take the amazing things that my mentors—mother, grandmother, and teachers-- have taught me over the years, along with what I have learned by myself, and pass it on to these young people. My whole life I was always encouraged to do well in terms of art, academia, or anything else. Not just this, but I have also been lucky enough to have been given the resources to accomplish my goals. For example, when I was in elementary school I would attend an after school art program at the local recreation center. This would not have been possible if there were no volunteers. Coincidentally, it was strikingly similar to the one provided by Interfaith Shelter today.

I feel that my service has benefited the community, because while I am able to help the children—as I was helped--with art, schoolwork, and life they are able to teach me that it is now my turn to take that knowledge and encourage their growth. I believe that by being a volunteer I am not only helping them to become more creative, but I am also helping their self-esteem in a positive way. And these are characteristics that will allow them to become better students, parents, and people. This way they will have the tools to lead future generations within the community. Because I was low-income statistically, I too was considered an “at risk” child, but I was given resources and encouragement; these things made all the difference. Volunteering has changed my view of children who experience domestic violence. I know now that I have the ability to help these children cope with the situation, whereas before I felt as though it would be years before I would be qualified to work with them. I felt almost helpless to the situation, but I have realized that just being there for them, with good intentions, is crucial for these children. While these children have changed my life in helping me to realize all of this and so much more, I hope that what I have taught them will stick with them as they grow.

The relationship between my service learning experience and the material covered in class is complex, undeniable, and ubiquitous. While seeing these women at the shelter I thought about how macrosystems within our society have had a great influence on why these families, as microsystems, are in these situations. For instance, one macrosystem that has affected the life course of these women and children is male patriarchy and machismo which is existent within U.S. and Mexican culture--if not globally. The fact that all of these women have been physically abused by men directly relates to societal institutions that encourage male hyper-masculinity and dominance; we see this within the media, the workforce, and our governmental system.

Another example of how my experience at Interfaith Shelter relates to the class material is evident in the different systems that influence a child’s socialization. For instance, the idea of mesosystems relates in that there are families living at the shelter, while at the same time these families joined together make up a small community, and further still the children within these families serve as an example of the peer groups that influence socialization. That is, as these microsystems work in tandem to form a mesosystem, it is all of these influences combined that affect the children’s experiences, growth, and overall socialization. And while I--as a volunteer-- have also become a part of the community, I too play a crucial role in how these children are socialized; simultaneously the children play an important role in influencing my life. Therefore it is up to me to either be indifferent or mindful about how I interact with these children.

One worthwhile experience that I have had at the shelter is in noticing how my relationship with the children has evolved over the course of my time there. For instance, now that I know the children I feel as though I am like a big sister to them. For example, Linda (10 years) was quiet and showed little emotion for several weeks during my visits to the shelter. So I constantly attempted to engage in conversation with her in order to let her know that I was not only there to supervise her, but that I could be her friend as well. I asked her how school was, what she likes to do for fun, or what her favorite song is right now. Once she got used to me coming every week, she began to open up, smile more, and the first time that she gave me a big hug--as I entered the room--was unforgettable to me. I also loved when the children started painting pictures for me and wrote my name on the paper. I know that most children are naturally very sweet in this way, but it is still priceless to know that a child has created something so special for you. Receiving hugs from the children, working on projects together, knowing that they saved a coupon for a free soda for you, and laughing with the children are just a few of the volunteer experiences that have been worthwhile to me.

Maitreya Rosiles
Child Development 141

Initiating Social Service

Last year, 60.8 million people, or about 26 percent of Americans age 16 or older, performed unpaid work for a nonprofit organization, a report from says. Not a bad figure, meaning one in every four people you see daily, volunteers their time for free. Well in a Sociology class at San Diego City College instructed by Professor Francisco Moreno, M.A.S.P. 100 percent of his class donated their time to the community this year. It was a sociology class that a little less may have been taught about the study of sociology; and a little bit more may have been taught about becoming more active in participating in society and becoming students thoughtful of change. At least, this is the experience that the 16 week semester is leaving with this student.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 was the first day I set foot into the Coronado Baptist Church as a volunteer. It is a day that will probably stick with me for a great deal of time. No, it was not the first time I had been to the church; actually for three years I attended the preschool at this church. So when Professor Moreno gave us the assignment of fifteen hours community service, I knew right away where I wanted to do my hours. I would spend a little of my time helping the staff of the preschool; hopefully allowing them some ease if they possibly had lay-offs due to this recession. And it would be a chance to give back to the children that at one point, I was one of.

Coronado Baptist Church has two dynamic individuals that have taught there for years, even since I attended back around 1990. "Mr. Bill" and "Mrs. Martha" are the two preschool teachers that are so adored by dozens young children daily. My first lesson of the community service was watching these two and their infinite patience with the children. Two-to-five year olds have a tendency to cry and carry on when not getting their way; but Bill and Martha knew how to handle that. They were wily veterans when dealing with these kids. The first time a little one came to me and started crying; I gave the girl exactly what she wanted. I was played by this three year old girl and didn't even know it was happening. But as I gained knowledge of the children's trickery I became skilled at dealing with them. With my bi-weekly two hour visits, I rapidly gained a skill-set that truly can only be gained with hands-on experience.

One extremely special relationship was also formed during these 30, or so, hours of service. A young boy by the name, Connor, was one of my favorite children to spend time with. He was all of about three feet tall and forty pounds soaking wet. He would always run up to me right when I walked through the door and greet me with a giant hug. Constantly asking me, "pick me up" in his boyish tongue. I couldn't say "No" to the boy; so I would fly him around the schoolyard like Superman. About two weeks ago I noticed my last couple visits to the school he had been absent. Bill informed me he had been at the children's hospital the last few days. He was diagnosed with cancer and had a tumor in his chest. A boy, who I had spent maybe a total of about ten hours with was about to die; and a huge weight came over my heart. I asked myself, "why?" How could this happen? How unfair that this boy, with his whole life to live, is losing everything and their is nothing I can do. Not sure! how the school or the family would react to me wanting to go visit the boy, I decided just to pray for him and hope for a miracle. I hope everyone else can pray that same prayer because three years old is just much to young to go.

My image of community service before this assignment was certainly negative. Spending my precious time to help out others? Little did I know I would be one of the one's who would benefiting, quite possibly, the most from the experience. I learned a number of things about small children that are priceless tools for one day when I have my own kids. I got to reacquaint myself with two people who touched my life twenty years ago and continue to be an inspiration to me. Most importantly I got to meet a boy who touched me so much in so little time; and realized how precious life is. This boy has inspired me to want to find a career; or even just volunteer more, so I constantly can try and help someone. Everyone should be greeted with a big hug when they walk in the door.

Drew Chance
Soc. 101

Unlike the first time that I volunteered with Habitat, I was disappointed with the lack of fulfillment I had with the time I spent there. This time I spent roughly 3.5 hours of my time walking around the Restore sweeping, carrying trash to the dumpster, picking up trash in the parking lot, and really had no direction of what I should be doing that would potentially benefit the community. From what I noticed in the Restore part of Habitat, it was a place for them to make money to support the projects, and to help the judicial system enforce community service sentences. There is a big difference to me of how much I feel the time from volunteering is used. In the first report of the time I spent at the agency I had a clear view of what needed to be done. Where as in the Restore portion of the agency, I felt like I was just there to log in my hours. I still have 3.5 hours to complete and plan on doing so the coming up Friday. I plan to try and work on one of their building projects where I can impact a project with my contracting background.

The community has benefited from my contributions in labor and time. I know that the work I performed in the conference room remodel was worth a good amount of money had the agency had to pay for my time as a General Contractor.

From the material covered in class the comparison of the service learning experience was how encouraging involvement in the community helped to open my eyes to some of the community’s needs and how if I ever needed to utilize the services, that the community could be one of the ways that I can reduce the effects of poverty in our area. The most worthwhile experience I had so far with Habitat has been the interaction with the people doing community service. I listened to some short conversations of a couple of 16 year old teenage boys that were out 5 minutes past curfew. They were ticketed by a police officer in their neighborhood and were forced to do 32 hours of community service in order to get out of the fine and trouble with their parents. I don’t feel that the punishment fit the crime, however there are two sides to every story and in this case they young men said that they would not repeat staying out past curfew.

Brendan Hill
Soc. 101

I am the loose screw in steel.
Sheets of thin graphite shatter and drive inside my head like meaningless words
Chromed out imagination keeps me alive.
I am the buffer in the tool box brushing the shine out of anything I can find.
I sand paper metal making microscopic scrapes and cuts like sharp rose petals.
I crush them too, turning them into foil, then so thin it turns into oil.
Anything it touches it will soil.
No stories are in any book i've ever read except this one I write and it has no title.
Instead i'll let you smile and nod like you understand.
Through this writing I will not hold your hand.
Some people choose to lay down
others choose to move.
That's why I do the work
and love it

Sacara Northard

Do we stand and stare or hold hands and unite?

They are headed straight for us, they use words like bats, harmony is their fear. The colors they wear are see through, are you going to tell me your real name? When you spit your ashes they rest on my shoulders. My eyes closed arms folded waiting to cast my wet ballot, rainbows, cookies and ice cream, I'm red like a crumbling brick. What are purple mountains and how are they majesty? Can I please be counted? Do we stand and stare or hold hands and unite?Walk the plank is what they tell me, Do you carry a Bible when you wear your church dress, Road rage becomes the game on the play ground cause they know who I stay with. I like the toys, and I can stay up as long as I want cause I keep the best secrets. Do we stand and stare or hold hands and unite? Ooh I'm telling, but the office just closed, and there aint no supervisor your blood is invisible and their eyes wired shut, the moon lit sky used as your pillow becomes your point for solace. sleep until your dreams become reruns and there is no more curtain calls. Do we stand and stare or hold hands and unite?

Sandra Northard
Sociology 125

An uncertain world,
Aspiring Students,
Stuck in the rough grass,
Giving them a twirl

Help unfortunate,
Barely making it,
Scholar students,
Even help truants
Volunteer the world
‘Cause change is needed
By fixing the way
People are treated

Teaching Business Ethics,
Help Brighten futures,
In everyday life,
More as a suture

SIFE, a new world
Of a perspective
A utopia

Vikrum s Deol

What I Gained From Service Learning
My service learning experience was very interesting, productive, and eye-opening. I spent Thanksgiving week volunteering at God’s Extended Hand (GEH). GEH is a soup kitchen dedicated to providing meals and services for San Diego’s homeless community. My time was spent passing out trays of food, cleaning up after breakfast and dinner services, observing how this non-profit organization is run, and interacting with the homeless patrons and volunteer staff members.

GEH provides an array of services that are vital to the community. One such service is the distribution of about 200 meals daily. In addition, an on-site social worker provides access to resources, offering referrals to counseling, medical, and other vital services. GEH also provides a free monthly medical clinic, free haircuts, free donated clothing, as well as temporary winter shelter.

Through my service learning experience, I helped serve around 1000 trays of food to the homeless. It amazed me how friendly the people were despite the fact that I was encountering many of them at their most desperate times in their lives. Homelessness does not discriminate. I witnessed homeless people from all walks of life including men, women, veterans, migrant workers, teenagers, the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill, substance abusers, and families. The most tragic aspect of my daily exposure to the homeless population was seeing the children and babies, and the elderly disabled men and women. These are perhaps the cruelest victims of this harsh lifestyle.

There is little question that these people deserve to be given the chance to succeed and the means to help them get there. This is why I feel that GEH is a positive force in the community. Their aim is not to be enablers of homelessness. Rather, it is to be a source of empowerment by giving people access to the most basic needs and services that help them to become self-sufficient.

I can honestly say that nothing in my life has awakened me more to the blessings that I have been given, than volunteering has. I have been lucky to have a supportive family, the power of opportunity, and the comfort of a stable home. Stepping into a setting surrounded by people who have experienced tremendous misfortune has taken me more out of myself. It has made me less selfish, less materialistic, less sorry for myself, and more connected with humanity. Working for GEH not only made me thankful for what I have, it made me a better, more aware person.

Danielle Shipe
Sociology 101

Rolling With the Cops – Service Learning Reflection

For my service learning I chose to ride along with a Lemon Grove Sheriff and observe the daily routine of an officer of the law. Most of the time I spent driving around a designated area. Driving from one location to another, or just patrolling the streets. This I somewhat enjoyed, one of my weird hobbies is driving (and I don’t mean driving slowly). The calls we got weren’t really exciting, the one exciting thing that happened during my two patrols me and my officer ended up missing because we attended another call. We also entered a bar, to check it out and to make sure no underage drinking or drugs going around in there. I actually bumped into Matthew from class there and a couple of other places too.

I did learn a lot about the duties, responsibilities, and every day activities of a cop, and I did like it. I have been considering entering the law enforcement field for a carrier and I think I will continue to pursue that carrier. I met a bunch of different types of cops on my patrol, from the nice and friendly to the asshole cop, but I understand why some cops can be so strict and mean. They go through the same bull shit lies from some people every day that they stereotype a lot of the people they encounter. I attended several calls with both my partners that were just plain stupid. And what made it worst that it was a slow night and every cop showed up to every call.

I also got to experience an arrest. It was a cool experience, kind of feel sorry for the guy. The entire way back to the station with the guy in the back was annoying though. He would not shut up the entire way, talking about how much he respects cops and stuff like that. I also went to the down town court house (I think it’s the court house) where they drop off the arrested people, but I had to stay in the car while prisoner was transferred into his jail cell.

I think this experience has bettered my life, not only because I was thinking of entering the law enforcement field, but also because I got to learn what being a cop was really like. I earned more respect for the officers serving and protecting the community. By the way, it was nothing like the show Cops, but the sheriff department was filmed by the show about four months before I rode along and it aired the second night of my ride along, I didn’t see it.

At first I really wasn’t looking forward to doing this service learning stuff, but I am glad I did it. I really enjoyed the time I spent with the Sheriffs. In fact both times I stayed with them for over 10 hours, they have 12 hour shifts, until they had to go do their paper work. In a way I chose to leave early because that’s kind of like the boring part of the job, but I wish I would of stayed and observed it, just to see what it is like.

Luca Lanzone
Sociology 101

Nothing you do for children is ever wasted!

For my service learning component, I completed twenty-two hours with the lovely toddlers of Christian Dayspring Preschool. The reason I chose Christian Dayspring is because I was already familiar with the establishment and admire how structured it is. While there, I assisted Mrs. Claudia’s class with naptime, snack time and play time. The most amazing aspect if this preschool that sets it apart from others is the fact that every single Friday, everyone attends chapel whether they are an infant or school aged child. This is very significant because children are having morals instilled in them before corrupted by society. Each of the children was warm-hearted and welcoming. In addition, the diversity was amazing. I was also impressed how the children have a set routine from morning to evening which makes the whole entire operation run smoothly. The school also distributes a monthly calendar of each and every meal the children would be consuming, all nutritious. Many Aspects of Christian Dayspring are unbelievably organized, which, in the long-run is very beneficial to the children. For instance, the nutritious food and constant exercise was preventing obesity and Chapel was giving these young-ones a sense of religion and spirituality at an early age! This entire experience (not only makes me want to continue volunteering at Christian Dayspring but it) is making me consider a career in Child Development!

Alyssa Simpers

Volunteering at Planned Parenthood made me realize that if I didn’t have anyone to support a pregnancy or just to talk to about sex, that I could go there. Some people don’t have anyone to teach them about sex. They have a lot to offer at the Planned Parenthood.

This experience has made me realize all the teen pregnancies there are and how there are a lot of people in the world who get sexually transmitted disease. This has changed my view on the issue because teenagers know that there are ways out in world to have safe sex but they think they are protected by birth control or other ways but they don’t realize it is 100 percent effective. Some teens just don’t really care about the poor children they bring into the world by having unprotected sex just once.

My community service has benefited the community by teaching people how to have safe sex and to help people through teenage pregnancies. Also by handing out different information to teenagers in the community about diseases and pregnancies. This experience has made me realize all the teen pregnancies there are and how there are a lot of people in the world who get sexually transmitted disease. Planned Parenthood goes out to communities to hand out condom packs, and in the summer I will be one of those people handing out these packs, so teens will have safe sex.

The relationship between the volunteering and the materials we learned in class was the parenting and how some people don’t treat their children right, because they aren’t ready to be parents. They neglect their children and they don’t have enough money to support them. With the Planned Parenthood I hope that it will help teens learn more about safe sex and the disease that are effecting people today. One meaningful/ worthwhile experiences that I would like others to share with others would be to go into your community with the Planned Parenthood and help pass out condom packs and help people in the community learn about safe sex. One meaningful experience I had during my community services was being able to help people. I enjoy helping people when I can. I hope everyone will go out in there community and volunteer. This was one of the best experiences I have had.

Danielle Engel
Child Development 141

After serving 12.5 hours in the homeless community I have become more aware of the needs of the people around the city. There is so much that we do not know about the outside world because we are too focused on our own world and do not bother with the other. Learning and listening from the stories and experiences of the homeless people has taught me a great deal about myself and what aspects in my life I should work on to become a better person. I am now much more aware of my surroundings and what I need to do to help others.

Growing up, I have always held a special place in my heart for the less fortunate. I have always felt that I need to stop talking about helping and take action. I never actually took the opportunity until I was offered the chance to serve the needs of the homeless in San Diego. Coming from a small town in North Carolina, there was not a great amount of homelessness to be seen. Therefore, I was not able to share my gifts until now.

This experience has been so rewarding in my life and it has made me appreciate all that I have. I will never take for granted all of my blessings. I will never forget the friendships that I have obtained and long lasting memories that I will cherish forever. I thought I knew a lot about the hardships of the homelessness in San Diego but I truly have a greater outlook on it now. When you hear amazing stories of courageousness and people living their dreams, you come to find out that there is much more than the eye seeks to find. This has changed my life because I will continue the community service after my 12 hours are finished. I feel as if this is what I am called to do. I am an able body so I need to do something! This experience, this journey, has also changed my view on homelessness. I used to believe the people only seek money to buy drugs and alcohol. That is just not the case. They want and need someone to help them in their struggles so they can better themselves as an accomplished person in society.

I believe my service has benefited the community greatly because I am helping to bring smiles to others that are lost in this world. I am also trying to help them find a purpose in life. I am helping them to realize that they are not bums on the streets but people who can strive for a goal. My contribution to the community is being the one person another person can count on when times are tough. Whether it be to give food, water, clothes, a shoulder to cry on, or a listening ear; I am just using my time in life to help and be there for others.

My community service project can also be closely related to a specific topic that we discussed in class on values. In class we were asked to write down five things that are important to us and no where on my list was “less fortunate people” or “people”. I feel from this experience that people in general would be added onto my list of values. All we have in life is people to understand who we are. We are all put on this earth to love one another and be there for each other.

Through the community service I now understand that all people in the community should serve one another in any way possible, and each individual should be valued. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see how you would like to be someone else for a day.

If I could share a worthwhile experience it would have to be meeting a homeless man and his bird in Balboa Park. During my time of passing out food and water a homeless man walked by and he caught my eye. I noticed that everywhere he went his black bird would follow on his head. I went up to him and asked him about his bird and himself. What he told me and expressed to me was very interesting and heart warming. He began to tell me that the reason he grew attached to this bird was because the bird always stayed by his side and was his friend. He also said the bird has always been there for him and he would always be there for his friend, the bird. After understanding how much the bird meant to him made me re-evaluate my life and how I spend it. Homeless people and people in general are all seeking for friends and companions. We need to all look at our lives and see how we spend it each day. Open up to others and become someone’s friend, and do something!

Kelly Kem

Volunteering for Meals on Wheels has been a rewarding in every way. The impact these seniors had on me was amazing. The impact I had on these seniors was heartwarming. I have never had time to volunteer anywhere, but now I make time whenever I get a chance. My time at Meals on wheels has changed my life in so many ways; it has made more understanding and giving towards the elderly. I would encourage every senior over the age of 60 that cannot cook, or that is having trouble cooking, to join the Meals on Wheels program. I would also encourage everyone to volunteer in this program because people who participate do so much good and positive things to help seniors. Unfortunately, Meals on Wheels does not have as many volunteers as they would like. During my service I volunteered to drive two routes, and that benefited my community. We had no volunteers for route 12 on March 2nd and route 3 on March 11th. I delivered 9 meals a day for two days , a total of 18 meals , where I met 18 interesting seniors from the city of San Diego. I helped seniors get their food on time for them to eat and to enjoy. I had a 2 to 3 minutes conversation with each of them and they all thanked and hugged me. It was an amazing feeling to know someone for just a small period of time, and to feel like I’ve known them forever. The best way I can relate my volunteer time to my school material would be through Erickson’s stage of psychological development, the senescent stage integrity versus despair, found in the book Child, Family, School, and Community . For example, in some cases seniors that have not reached the stage of integrity can be lonely, and might have little or no socialization with others. Thus leading to little or low self esteem. They can also lose their appetite and may feel like they are a burden to their families. In such cases, Meals on Wheels offers so much more than just delivering food; They socialize and become friends with seniors. Moreover, they lift their spirits and boost their self esteem by helping them with small chores around the house, and check up on them when needed. However, seniors who have reached the stage of integrity and are positive, socialize with others, and have high self esteem can also get lonely. All together they might not see anyone for days and for these people Meals on Wheels can brighten their day as well. The most incredible, meaningfull, and worthwhile experience was when I volunteerd at a health fair. It was held in Kimball Park in National City on Saturday, March 7th, from 8 am- 2 pm. I was a bilingual informer. My job was to inform people about the Meals on Wheels program. The majority of the vsisitors at the fair were Hispanic and about 85% of them did not speak English. Most people did not have knowledge about the program, but I helped so many families and seniors join Meals on Wheels. It was an incredible experience. During the fair , elderly ladies and gentle men thanked me and laughed with me, and I joked and laughed with them.

Linda Aguirre
Child Development 141

The service learning project I chose was the urban farm located in San Diego City College campus. I chose this project because I come from a family of farmers and never really learned the ways of farming growing up. Another reason is because we had a class field trip there and it really caught my attention and I wanted to help out. For many reasons I wasn’t able to put in more hours this semester but I’m sure I’ll be there next semester since the experience I had was great. Organic Farming is part of our curriculum and with this project I was able to do hands on farming.

I’ll start by stating the things I did while I was at the urban farm volunteering on a Saturday morning. When I got to the farm Ms. Julia Dashe explained some facts about organic farming. In one of the books she passed around for us to take a look at I found it interesting how it’s important to plant different things around trees. It gave me some ideas of what to do in my future house since I think that we should all try to do a little farming at our own homes. After the short lecture she assigned jobs to everybody and I got to go get compost from the outside area of San Diego High. The instructor that was with us explained to us that it took a little over a year for termites to work on that dirt making it compost and with a little extra on the side. I found tons of termites when scooping the compost and also many spiders, which wasn’t that pleasant. After we got back with the compost we immediately started distributing it on different parts of the farm. I also got to do trench-like digging at the farm, which is now covered and has irrigation also, but that was done a different day. It wasn’t that hot that day so it went very smoothly and had fun while I learned a little extra for the home.

In our class we have studied about pesticides and how much industrial farming hurts the land. Organic farming can’t keep up with industrial farming, but is a better way for us to save the land that we still have instead of ruining the land for future crops. I always thought that termites were bad for pretty much anything, but after this learning experience I finally found good use for them. Our instructor told us how these termites help keep the land a little more fertile and how it helps with compost.

Isaac Jr. Arrizon
Biology 101

I chose to do my project at the San Diego City College Organic Farm. I didn’t really know what to expect because I have never been on a farm before. When I arrived Saturday morning, October 11, I didn’t see Erin so I was feeling awkward not knowing who to talk to. However, I ended up talking to Julia Dashe. She was a very nice woman with a huge smile on her face. She seemed very enthusiastic about the farm. My first task was to take weeds out. I had no idea what a weed looked like so I was not sure what to look for. Julia said to look for yellow flowers and grass. I used a hand cultivator as a tool to make sure I got the roots out. After that, Julia asked me to spread mulch around because it will help keep moisture in the soil. It also aids in weed suppression. Julia informed me that they are trying to maintain the soil “forest-like” since forest soil is always covered. I saw a lot of grubs and worms. I learned that grubs are decomposers; they help break down soil. Julia told me that they move the grubs over to where they keep compost, which is like a living area for decomposers.

My second task was to help plant. The tool I ended up using was a trowel. I started by getting a bucket full of compost. I dug a hole and put some compost in it. Then I took the plant out of its nursery pot and put it in the hole. I covered the hole with soil until it was even with the ground. I was very excited because I have never done this kind of thing before. I first planted Dyno kale, then I switched to planting speckled green lettuce. After I finished planting, Julia told me to water them. She instructed me to fill a canteen with water and add a small amount of fish fertilizer (emulsion). I poured a good amount of mixture over each “fresh “plant.

The last task I decided to do was to learn what kinds of plants are being grown in this farm. Julia gave me a tour of the place. We started at the seedling section, which consisted of peas, asian greens, beets, carrots, onions and spinach. There is no pesticide used so she gave me a taste of ruby streaked mustard greens. I was somewhat shocked to see her eating it right from the ground. I was hesitant, but I ended up eating the greens. Tomy surprise, it was pretty good. She also gave me a sample of chocolate mint plant. Now that smelled really good. Julia told me they started planting in the summer, so most of the plants were things such as corn and squash. They later added mustard greens and onions. I also saw a lot of amaranth and a variety of sweet potatoes. Julia told me they are also planning to plant fruit trees. She informed me they built a small bridge made of bamboo to hide the storm drain. This is where I found the chocolate mint plant. She also showed me bins they made out of crates to keep compost, which is very important to make soil. The compost needs to be turned over occasionally to add air and moisture. Julia has a goal to build a greenhouse. We moved on to the slope, where I found watermelons, tomatoes, squash and edible chrysanthemum.

Overall, this was an awesome experience for me. The people working on this farm were very enthusiastic in answering all of my questions. Julia was an excellent person to work for. She provided me with a lot of information. I have learned to appreciate plants more. I was embarrassed in the beginning because I kept stepping on plants without even knowing there was something there. Julia kept reminding me to be careful. Very embarrassing!

Mariá Galván
Biology 107

“Finding who I am”

South Bay Pioneers is a residential facility that has helped over 9000 men and women get their start in the 12 Step Program of AA. Although not affiliated with AA, it strongly endorses the fundamentals and principles on which that program is based. South Bay Pioneers provides the person in recovery with a two types of facilities: a residential facility and a meeting hall within for holding and attending AA meetings, and have occasional social gatherings. The facilities house 24 people. A new resident receives room and board for a nominal fee and may stay at the house for up to a year. Residents are required to attend AA meetings, and are assigned various house duties. Employment searches are encouraged as well as contact with the local Vocational Rehabilitation Department in an attempt to once again become valuable citizens in the community. Through daily contact with other recovering alcoholics, many of these men and woman are able to accept their disease, recognize that there is hope, and strive for a better life for themselves and their families.

My duties at the facility were to aid and be a part of the Tuesday night guys and gals AA discussion meetings. I served in the role of secretary, performing duties such as opening and closing the meeting, recording the speaker's name and other information about them in the group log, and calling to the group's attention any announcements from the A.A. General Service Office. I also acted as a treasurer, collecting donations and keeping checks and balances with my group.
I chose to work with this facility because it has had a strong and special impact in my life and in my own recovery. Some years back I was ordered to attend AA due to a DUI violation. My initial reaction and frame of thinking was very typical of someone who was truly in a state of denial. I hated coming to this room. I wanted nothing to do with the people there; after all, they where the ones with the problem, not me!
I learned more about my self from this experience than I have probably learned all my adult life. I was no different then any of them. In fact the more I sat and began to listen to these stories, the more I saw my self and my behavior in them. This may seem cliché to say, but my eyes have truly been opened. The thing that has really amazed me the most is that we all came together for one specific purpose: the desire to quit drinking because our lives had become unmanageable. The lessons we learn by talking about our problems are not just about drinking alcohol or not, although it may begin that way. It is so much more; we share things like how to deal with every day stress that keeps us bound to a specific behavior, and how to deal with people that can just drive us crazy sometimes. I urge people to visit some of these rooms regardless of their drinking habits, to come in with an open mind and listen, because I strongly believe that anyone can get something good out of the experience. It has completely changed my life for the better. Every time I go to one of the meetings I walk out with a new small piece of information that I have been able to implement on a daily basis. I have learned to have patience, respect, and most importantly learned how to listen to people without judgement and criticism. Every day since this experience has been a new day of discovery for me. I am finally beginning to really get to know my self as a person, and that alone is something that no one can put a price on.

I truly believe that there are three types of people in the world a smart person, that learns from others mistakes and experiences; a normal person learn from their own mistakes and corrects them; and a stupid person who keeps making the same mistakes over and over expecting a different result every time, that to me is the true meaning of INSANITY.

-“I’m trying to be a normal person”

Leonel Medina
Honors Physical Anthropology 102

Zoo Weekend’s

My experience volunteering for the Zoological Society of San Diego has turned out to be more than I expected. I applied back in March and just recently got started as an actual volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering at the zoo do not hesitate it extremely easy. You can go online or walk into the Administrative Office located right next the the Otto center at the zoo and ask for information. They will either send you down the hall where three very nice people will be waiting and have you speak to them. These people are the volunteer directors. They will tell you to fill out an online volunteer application on the San Diego Zooʼs website at The website is very self explanatory. If all of your answers meet their standards and you do not sound like a nut who will release their animals, you then will receive a phone call to set up a time and date for an interview with one of the zoo volunteer directors. The interview in my experience was very simple and relaxed. They are just trying to get a better idea of who you are. They may ask you questions like “Why have you decided to volunteer at the San Diego zoo?” Or, “What makes volunteering for animals special to you?” And of course “do you love animals?” After a couple weeks I was emailed a time and date to to meet everyone at the Zooʼs OTTO CENTER for Zoo Volunteer orientation. I was extremely excited to have been chosen! That day I showed up on time and ready to hustle. I said Hello to the directors and had my photo snapped for my new name badge. The orientation was overall very informative. We learned there are 700,000 different types of plants on the Zooʼs grounds, that 15,000 bananas eaten each week by every animal, and also that it takes about 800,000 dollars a year to run this type of facility. We were also told how their animal veterinarians are some of the best in the States and that medical centers from all over the world call the San Diego Zoo for medical advice. From what I have learned by volunteering at the San Diego Zoo is that getting involved easier than you think, you will walk away with more than you could have imagined which is, a better idea of what it is the staff, volunteers, and students at the San Diego Zoo are all fighting for. They are there to protect and preserve life, science, education and every living creature on this planet. Do not be afraid to come out of your shell. Help save some wildlife!

Lauren A Magness
Honors 102 Physical Anthropology

The unpredictability of a school

I volunteered at a grade school in Tijuana, Mexico named Escuela Primaria Martin Bautista Muñoz. I did not have any particular responsibility; I just had to be available to assist the principal or the teachers with anything they needed. I would help out in the library or make copies, help with arts and crafts projects, assist in the computer lab, or run errands. I mostly just showed up and took advantage of any new way I could help. If there is something that I learned from this opportunity was that the school environment is highly unpredictable.

As a student I have always had responsibilities with fairly set deadlines and I have been able to plan things based on my schedule and have a limited amount of surprises. But this time I was able to see the other side, the administrative side, on this side there was always something new. Either, someone stole a cable during the night and there was no electricity in the school, the copy machine would break down, a parent had a complaint about something, or a student would do something that could surprise even a teacher that has been serving for 20 years. Without a doubt the students are the ones that add the biggest element of surprise and unpredictability in this school. On any given day there can be a fight, a stomachache, a prank, an accident or all of them together. The last day I was there a little boy fell and broke his wrist. I did not know the level of responsibility that the teachers have to deal with when working with children.

The task that I dedicated the most time to was organizing the library, they do not have anyone that regularly works there to keep order of the books, so they depend on the volunteers to keep order once in a while. The library is about the size of two small classrooms and their collection is not very large, but complicated enough to need hours of organizing. The collection is small compared to a regular library, but the books they do have are challenging enough to wake up the interest of both children and adults. The second task I dedicated the most time on was the computer lab, which consisted of me answering the questions of the students about the computers. I helped them with Microsoft and the educational programs they were using.

To me this was a very rewarding experience, at the end of the day I was exhausted from running around, but I felt like I had actually done something of substance. I do not know how to explain it, as a student most of my time I just read, think and write, here I actually did things. I got to see how important it is to be part of a team in the workplace, and that in order to progress everyone must work together. I learned that it is essential to not be scared of improvising, of not knowing what is going to happen next, I learned to walk, talk and think fast because there are only five hours in the school day and certain things have to be done. I would really like to do this again, I think I still have a lot to learn from everyone at this school that will help me in the future and it definitely does not hurt to have funny stories from the crazy things the kids come up with.

Cynthia Flores
Honors Anthropology 102

Sweet Freshness

I did my volunteer work at a farmer’s market downtown called “Market 32.” It was just starting up and I jumped at the opportunity to help and do my SLO. The work at the farmer’s market relates to Anthropology because food is our fuel and what we eat makes a big difference in human survival. Also to mention the market handles mainly fruits and vegetables and humans typically eat 80% of fruits and vegetables, although many in America eat obscene amounts of meats. However, negative results follow from consuming too much meat.

In my experience with Market 32 I saw how the food gets from the farm to the urban market in downtown. The days began early at a little before 6 A.M. We made way out into the county, meet the farmers and pick up produce from their storage units and load it into the truck. This is probably the freshest way to receive produce unless you live on a farm. The farmer’s storage unit consists of dry and chilled storage. The dry consists of fruits and veggies like oranges, potatoes, onions and apples. The ones that need to be chilled are fruits and veggies like various types of lettuce, broccoli, carrots and peppers to preserve their freshness. The units did not contain foreign debris and the only dirt present was soil. Picking up the food was the most interesting part of my experience. The food was so fresh and pure and the smell of fresh soil was prevalent throughout the units.

When returning to the market the daily produce needed to be unloaded, taken to the back and then washed. Washing the food was not complicated. It pretty much consists of just rinsing off, since they were not covered in chemicals or even that dirty in the first place. We then place the new fruit out on display. After that, we take the fruits and veggies stored from the day prior and put them on top so there is no waste. This keeps the fruits and veggies rotating, preventing the spoiling of the produce.

Aside from picking up the food, unloading, washing and displaying, I learned how to make a few smoothie shakes. One of which is the Açaí smoothie that is a berry from South America. The fruit is a little of the hot thing right now in society because it contains many anti- oxidants which is believed to remove free - radicals from the body.

This experience taught me how much better it is to eat more produce rather than eating so much meat. Because I worked in this market, I have cut out meat entirely except for dairy products for protein. I have now been a vegetarian for almost a whole month and I feel lighter and healthier. I try to get my dairy from an organic background and not from a factory farm that exploits our sources of food in negative ways, like feeding our meat produce with hormones and antibiotics. I think our society eats too much meat and I am happy I have learned many healthy alternatives to eating and not have to settle for hormone injected, anti-biotic fed, fatty, processed and unhealthy meats. This experience affected me in a positive productive way and I am currently seeking employment through this market.

Kyle King
Honors Anthropology 102

Molding the Perfect Swimmer

While I served in the U.S. Navy I acquired good skills and techniques in swimming. So I felt that volunteering at the base pool, teaching the men and women of the armed forces better swimming skills would be only fair. Most of the guys were all training to be U.S. Navy SEALS and I helped them shave of on average a min off their 500yd swims. They all swam well, just needed to become more slippery in the water. That’s where I helped them out. On average I spent an hour or two at the pool a couple times a week, whenever my schedule permitted. It def made me feel good to be able to teach the guys what I learned. I always felt that knowledge is useless unless you pass it on to others. Even though I have completed my hrs required by my service learning, I will still help out when I have time. My service learning experiences was enjoyable and very beneficial and I look forward to doing more volunteering in my community.

Joshua Poe
Honors Anthropology 102

My Educational Experience

I volunteered in a classroom at a special education program at Roosevelt Elementary School for my SLO. This class includes eleven three to five year old students, each with very different needs and conditions, some behavioral and some medical. Some of the students were born with learning disabilities, chromosomal disorders, and others with different medical protocols that need to be learned and established in case of emergencies. In this class I prepared materials before classes and helped with small groups and class activities, along with helping to supervise during snack and play times.

Volunteering in the classroom was physically and emotionally exhausting. It was hard to see the struggles that these children and their families face everyday with seemingly simple things like basic language and motor skills. The experience not only made me a more patient person, but also helped me to understand the immense need for support and help for these families, and for our education system in general. These children are ignored throughout our society and the cuts to education have worsened the situation, with special education programs often being the first to see services disappear. It is apparent and heartbreaking that some of these kids will never be able to live independently, having to rely on their families for the rest of their lives to care for them.

I was only in the class for a short time, but I came to know each child as an individual and was able to witness small changes and progressions in each of their educational goals. I began volunteering with very little experience with young children and had no idea how to go about trying to help in the classroom. Stopping the fights and temper tantrums along with trying to help teach was much harder than I was prepared for. Spending everyday taking care of the students was frustrating and constantly busy, ensuring that you never get a break, but gave me a very different perspective on life and the way that their parents live every second of everyday.
This experience has shown me how many things in my own life I take for granted everyday and how invaluable our teachers are. Although I was a very small part of each of their days, it was amazing to be able to be able to take part in seeing them grow and evolve.

Jaime Parker
Honors Anthropology 102

Protecting Kids from Disasters

Natural disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes can strike at anytime with little or any warning. During the past ten years, natural disasters have occurred more frequently than ever before, putting homes and centers in grave danger. Child care centers are second homes to more and more children under the age of six, so it is necessary to take serious precautions so that they are ready when an unexpected disaster strikes.

For this assignment I worked with my current director at a child day care center at her home. Although Celestial Daycare is smaller than most day cares, made up of nine children, this child care center is a licensed facility that tries to keep up to date with all of the rules and regulations. Since I started working here 4 months ago, Mary Sin, the director gave me a brief introduction of the safety areas around the house but never really had an actual form or checklist for employees to look over and review. I sat down with her and reviewed the EMERGENCY PROCEDURES from the CFOC to see if we had some of the things that were listed. Before going into the details of first aid or implementing a plan for evacuation procedures, my director and I decided that we were going to first create a “nonstructural” Safety checklist of the area. Here in San Diego, the main natural disasters that we are most worried about are earthquakes and items around the house. After doing a little bit of research on the internet, we came up with a small checklist of items.

After we put our checklist together we assembled our team of child care providers and made sure that everything that applied to the checklist was put in place and secure. Since we all worked there, we just did it during the children’s nap time and in between breaks. During this time I learned that there is a lot more to keeping the home safe than just locks and bolts in the kitchen area and doors. There were many things that we missed, however they were easily fixed. After we secured all the things that we possibly can, the director and I went and looked over the first aid kit that she had. We had to make sure that nothing had expired and that all the key essentials were in there.

Based off of the CFOC emergency procedures, the only thing that Mary did not have updated was the names and numbers of the nearest hospitals and health centers if incase there was an emergency. With often new employees every year or so (because she likes to take in students that are new at working towards their career in this field), we noticed that the designated names for emergency contact were very out of date. Since I had created the checklist with her, she ended up listing me down as the secondary emergency contact person for parents (she being the primary contact person.) We also updated information sheets with all the new contact information and printed up a copy to provide to the parents when they arrived. Along with the updated information, we also provided parents with a copy of our checklist that we put together and informed them of all the updates or adjustments around the house.

Ashley Nguyen
Child Development 202

Emergency/Disaster Preparedness

For this assignment I decided to contact my previous employer to go over her current program that she has for domestic preparedness. I chose her center because it is a licensed in home day care center that is near my home so that I can just drop by for a couple of hours after work. I worked for her for about 8 months before I left for another opportunity. While I was there my primary job was to watch the children in a designated area of the house. I never got any type of training for disaster preparedness and have only been working at my current job for one month, so I still am not aware of any procedures. The CFOC states that the medical aspect of caring for children is likely to be the facet of care that caregivers are most poorly equipped to carry out, as their training is usually in early childhood education. The preparation of a written plan provides an opportunity for caregivers to work out how to deal with routine, urgent, and emergency medical needs.
Joan did not mind me coming over near closing hours to go over the procedures with her. We decided that the best time would be after hours so that it would not be distracting for the children and easier for us to inspect the items. We first went over the emergency procedures for CFOC standard 3.048 listing that: first aid shall be employed, and the emergency medical response team shall be called as indicated, the facility shall implement a plan for emergency transportation to a local hospital or heal care facility, the parent or parent’s emergency contact person shall be called as soon as practical, a staff member shall accompany the child to the hospital and will stay with the child until the parent or emergency contact person arrives.

According to the CFOC, there should always be a written plan for medical emergencies, so we sat down and with the assistance of Standard 3.049, came up with a checklist of things to do in case of an emergency.After coming up with this checklist, we then created forms necessary for disaster preparedness and reviewed the entire house for any safety measures that needed to be taken. I knew that it would take some time to go over the safety measures, but I didn’t know that it would actually be that difficult to update some of the items around the house. Some of the items were either out of our reach or required a professional.

Be Nguyen
Child Development 202

Disaster preparedness is an essential part of working with children, because being around them is something that can be as unpredictable as children themselves. Manifestation of a disaster is something that is not always clearly evident but is something that we as responsible adults should always do out best to be ready for. I felt in the interest of this assignment and my site it would be best to take a critical look my own site that I am responsible for and to evaluate our preparedness in the event of some sort of emergency. This essay is a reflection of my own preparedness at my site, my staff, and extending down to the children on what we should all do in the event of a medical emergency, and ways in which we could improve on the policies that are already in place.

To start off this assignment I first looked at what was suggest by American Academy of Pediatrics, there guidelines and lists of what they feel is the best thing to do in the even of a emergency. Although the guidelines are a bit brief, and concise, I felt that there was enough content to push across the point to be ready at all times, and how to react when called upon. Thinking back to times when I have had to deal with certain emergencies I was remembering if I did everything that was listed. From those times I was tried to remember what could have made that already ruff situation maybe have gone more smoothly, or maybe what would could we have done to maybe make whatever was happening less traumatic for the child.

Looking at the list, we already have these guidelines in place for what to do whenever a certain situation may arise, but I understood that that does not mean I could not improve the situation when it arises again. I feel that since I am in charge and have a lot of experience that when a child falls, and breaks their arm, since I know exactly what I am going to do, my staff will somehow follow suit. Admittedly, there is a certain level of laxity in making sure that my staff and I are all on the same page on what to do whenever something may arise. That is what I felt needed to be changed,

Firstly, I felt, that I needed to make sure that my staff all had an idea of what we should be doing when there is a emergency of any kind. Did there really know what should be done first, what they should do with any kids that maybe around, what is ok to do, and what is not ok to do. What should they do first, second, third, and so on. I wanted to talk with all of them about what was best in my opinion and also gather their thoughts on it as well.

Talking with them I saw that not all were as prepared as I would have hoped. Not all of my staff was trained by me, or received all of the training that others who work for me have. Since I am not in charge of all the training, and often if they start off with us at the beginning of the year training event they will not be ready in the same way as ones who have been with me for a while, or have had the same the more comprehensive training we receive at the before the school year starts. An idea for correcting this would be to discuss situations that will arise when we have our meetings every few weeks, and talk about them then.

All of my staff is first aid and cpr certified, so in some ways I know that they understand the initial basics of what to do, but that is the problem in some ways. They only know what to do what to do initially, in those first few moments when something happens, not what to do after that. When we meet and talk at our meetings we discuss now, what we would do in a situation, starting with the initial care of the child, but then what they should do after that. This is where I bring in this list as well as our own company policies. We are spread out generally at the school we are located at, and I talk to them about how they should alert what ever the situation is over our walkie-talkies so all staff are also alerted to what ever maybe happening, and if there are any that could possibly go and assist them. Letting them know that first and foremost is always to remain calm, being over excited leads to poor and cloudy decisions that in an afterthought may not have been the best, even if this is a hard request, it is vital. At our meetings we would talk about ways others, and myself help us remain calm in stress full situations. These would be only a couple of the topics we have talked about, being calm, letting everyone know what’s going on, we have talked about, and will talk about at future meetings.

Second, on what I felt we needed to improve on was, what the children should be doing and what the staff not directly involved with the incident should be doing as well. This is a was a more difficult topic to cover with my staff since there isn’t really a way to say who will be doing what specifically since you never what kid would get hurt, and who will be watching them at that moment. With this I felt it would be best to talk with my staff about what they thought would be best to if they were not involved directly, and why. I would give my staff a scenario, and assign one of them the role of what they would do in an emergency, and the answers would be relatively cut and dry based on our codes of what should be done, why, and how, and so on. Then I would ask another staff they should be doing while this is going on, and it’s not as simple of an answer since there are more variables here in certain ways. My thoughts then were to maybe have it so that if it were something really drastic where an ambulance would have to be called we would have set assignments, of course with degrees of flexibility, where we all have some task to take care of.
I would most likely be with the child, and who ever the staff was at the time the incident happened, but then there would need to be someone to gather the kids up, and move them away from the area, one person would do the talking the parents where they give them a set statement on what is going on, and how we are taking care of it the best we can, and then one person to get the phone numbers that would need to be called, namely the parents/guardians.

Part of this situation would also to get the kids prepared for some type of emergency as well. We already do fire alarm and earthquake drills, and this is a topic at our last drill I talked about as well, that in case one of their friends, or anyone else in the program ever gets hurts how the best thing they could do is listen to the directions of their consolers, and to not stop and stare or run up to the child and be in general way. With that I felt that after I talked the understood the idea of what I was going towards, namely that the best thing they could do was let the adults do what they need to do to help out their friend.

These two simple actions I feel will be do leaps and bounds when some sort of emergency happens at one point or another, since they will most certainly happen again. Now that I have made it a point to talk often about what needs to be done I feel that this will be the culture of how our site should be run, and that whom ever my takes over my post will continue these procedures as well. Through this I’ve learned that talking about it often will better prepare my staff, in at least having them in some ways expect for something to happen at one point in time, but with the amount of communication and dialogue going on surrounding this topic it will hopefully not be as large a shock to them when it happens they’ll instead not panic and then think about what we have talked about and act on that. The children also will hopefully understand what they are supposed to, where they when told something often enough will do things instinctively. The hardest part of this process I feel was being self critical and realizing where we are lacking and what to do to improve that situation. My site has about 130 children, with about 100 different families. We have 80-115 kids a day, I have seven to eight staff with me a day, with the amount of volume of work I have it’s not really a question of what could happen, but more of when will it happen and what will we do when it does, so after taking a critical look at my site, what we do now, and how it could be done better in the future, I now feel more comfortable with how we will handle our case of an emergency.


Disaster Preparedness in my Child Daycare

At the onset of this class, I was thrilled that I would be required to complete a director shadow assignment. This was exciting to me because I run my own part-time small daycare, and I am eager to ensure that my students receive the best home-based preschool program that I can offer. I was excited to sit down with a director at a center and see what things I could apply from her job to my own.

Well, as it always does, life happens. I have three children of my own, a very busy husband, and church responsibilities. I soon realized that getting three hours, without a child in tow to observe at a center was simply not going to happen. So, reluctantly, I turned to the class syllabus and began reading the details of the Homeland Security assignment. I was pleasantly surprised. It did not take long for me to become very intrigued and even excited. I was encouraged that the licensing process required by Community Care Licensing has already met many of the recommendations made by the National Resource Center for Heath and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. I already had an Evacuation Plan in place complete with local emergency numbers and important documents. I had also practiced an evacuation plan with my small class and taught about fire and earthquake safety. I am CPR and Pediatric First Aid certified. And, my house has working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher on hand.

After reflecting on past experiences working at childcare centers and thinking about the preparedness of the centers my own children I have attended, I decided to tackle two projects that will help prepare my small daycare in the event of a local disaster. The first seems quite simple on the surface, but if done really well, takes thought and organization. While I have always had band-aids, antiseptic, and burn cream on hand, I have never had a real, organized first aid kit. I decided to shop around and get one. I was first drawn to the kits made for children. They include fun little stickers, child friendly tweezers, and come in a fun little box. However, after looking closely, I realized that you don’t get much bang for your buck. So, I decided on a simple, standard kit. I then added fun band-aids, stickers, and child friendly sun block.

For my second project, I created an emergency pack for each of my students. These packs include a couple of snacks, two bottles of water, a change of clothes, and a note and picture from home for each child. The packs are stored in a laundry basket with blankets, a flashlight, a second travel first aid kit, and emergency contact information for each child. In the event of an emergency or even an evacuation, I can just grab this basket. I will have numbers handy to call authorities and parents, food and clothing for the children, and blankets and flashlights if we need them. At the end of this assignment you will see a copy of the letter I sent home to parents along with a few photos of a sample emergency pack.

Both of these projects required time and organization. Getting the packs organized and back from the parents seemed to take the most time (I am still waiting for a few to be returned). The parents of my students were happy to contribute the snacks and required items for the packs. They were happy to take part in an effort to keep their child safe and happy in what could potentially be a very scary time. It is my hope that we will never need to use any of these items. But, I am so thankful that, because of this assignment, I took the time to better prepare and organize my classroom in the event of a local disaster.

Leila Cahill
Child Development 202