Immersion and Connection

The second week slipped away swiftly as everyone began to get used to their summer routines. The children at Meals and More are having a good time. Although their outdoor time got cut this week because of the hot weather, we made sure that their time was well spent despite the heat. On Tuesday, we had a trip (a five-minute walk) to the public library, where a musical program was presented. The presenter, Jim Rule, used to be a first grade teacher. (Fun fact: his granddaughter is coming to Gettysburg College in the fall.) He added funny and catchy twists to many children folk songs and utilized them to serve educational purposes. The show was entertaining and educational at the same time, which both the children and adults enjoyed it very much. Our drama teacher, Miss Ann, bring in the same dynamics. She comes in every Tuesday and Thursday, working with either the younger or older group of children on those afternoons. As her assistant, I observed both groups engaging in similar activities pertained to acting. Surprisingly, I found out that the younger children were more creative and imaginative than the older ones. The fact spoke to me as the process of growing up, part of which includes the sad truth of losing originality. I enjoyed working with children, partly because they help me to look back to the early stage of my life, reminds me of the things I used to own, and inspire me with their originalities. In that sense, I truly appreciate the experience working at Meals and More, for I learned from every single encounter with every single children, staff member, and guest presenter in the program.
In fact, the Heston summer, in general, has been a learning experience for me. I was able to learn through not only the place where I work, but also the connections I’ve been able to build with other students and people in the community. The Heston Gettysburg interns and the programs we’re doing were all very well connected, and the chances to learn about what other people are doing and how their programs contribute to the effort in large movement has taught me a great deal.
On Tuesday and Thursday nights we would go tutor LIU Adult program, helping Hispanic immigrants with their language skills (I benefit from the class too as a non-native speaker. E.g. last Wednesday, we practiced the sentence structure of ‘Would you mind if I did something.’ For the first time I learned that past tense is used in the sentence instead of present tense, which I had been doing for years). On Wednesday night, we would be Circle participants, learning about the poverty issue facing Adams County. The most fascinating thing about being able to be part of those programs is that they are all interconnected, and having multiple perspectives of the community help us better understands WHAT IS GOING ON, which, as we discussed on the breakfast table, is the first step we take in answering the question: WHAT CAN WE DO?
This Wednesday night Maura and I went to the Farm Bill Forum, which was held at HACC. For me it was an eye-opening experience to learn about something that IS going on that I’m previously unaware of and to take a close-up look at the democratic nature of the United States at the community level. At the Forum, four presenters (including Meagan, the director of SCCAP) discussed the impact of the Farm Bill on local community from different perspectives. A video Maura edited was showed to educate people on the wage gap, which vividly demonstrates some downfalls of the system and people’s struggle as its victims.
It is very nice spending time with everyone in the house. We cooked a lot during the weekend—making everything from scratch! Zucchini veggie pizza was for tonight. It’s a joint effort that everybody contributed!

Photo: Melanie and Maura with a half-done pizza




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