Volunteer Day: Mulholland Middle School [9/19/16] By Elaine Ho, General Member

This past Monday, September 19th was UCLA’s annual Volunteer Day. As task captains, we were assigned to a school and trained to help the new student volunteers lead various activities in different classrooms. Unlike the usual Volunteer Day tasks such as repainting signs or planting trees, I spent my day at Mulholland Middle School doing activities with the students there. These activities ranged from being creative and thinking of songs with a certain lyric or simply introducing themselves. CKI’s purpose in these activities was to improve the middle schoolers’ communication, interaction, and public speaking skills — while teaching the incoming UCLA students leadership.

I had an amazing experience at this year’s Volunteer Day because although it started off on a rough note, we eventually broke down the students’ walls and had them interact with one another. There was a strict schedule we had to adhere to in order to allow sufficient time for each activity. However, as we spent more time with the students, we realized that they were very closed off and timid, so we allocated more time to interacting with them, rather than having them do something that would be out of their comfort zone to give them a more personable environment. We had a short period where the students could ask us questions and I was awed at the goals some of the kids had. From being ultrasound technicians to dancers to just simply continuing their education, I felt like we eased their minds on entering high school and tackling college.

Although we didn’t follow the schedule to the dot, I feel like having the middle schoolers break out of their shell and having the UCLA students observe, understand, and adjust to a situation is a gain in itself. I definitely recommend going to events similar to this as you not only help others, but you learn a lot yourself.