Thursday, June 30, 2016

Steven's Farewell

    It has been an absolute pleasure to serve the youth and families of Pittsburgh for the last 10 months.  As my term with KEYS Service Corps winds down, I have a chance to reflect on the last year or so of time spent teaching, and learning from, the youth at ALEC.

    I have never been one to stand in front of a crowd and talk.  I like to do the behind-the-scenes work, making sure things run well and preparing for any scenario.  This term serving at ALEC really pushed me to grow into a teaching mindset, knowing that my attitude and enthusiasm could be contagious to encourage the youth to learn.  It is definitely an area I feel more confident in.

    And of course, there were days when I just colored.  It is a surprisingly relaxing thing for anyone.  Even when you don't know what you are drawing.

    I feel very fortunate to have been at a site where structured programming included some free time to go outdoors and play.  I loved playing outside as a kid, so being with this group helped me get back to my roots, so to speak.

    I spent many a day teaching the youth about different cultures, an area I really enjoy.  I believe it is critical that youth learn how to see things from different perspectives, creating a richer world for all of us to live in.  Being able to answer questions about why certain cultures do things differently is an absolute joy for me.  And if I did not know an answer, looking it up was just as fun!

    Trivia was a favorite for the group, as much as they complained about getting the wrong answers.  Trivia with pictures as hints can help develop critical thinking skills, and helps encourage the youth to think about the answer before they shout out the first thing that comes to their mind.

    I also really enjoyed how the program pushed for coding and computer literacy throughout the year.  Seeing as how important technology is becoming in our everyday lives, it was great to get the youth thinking about the way things work.  Several of them really seemed to catch on quick, which made me even happier!

    And of course, how can I forget some of our outings?  Going to Duquesne University for their Tower of Terrors Halloween event was a blast, and I couldn't resist the urge to dress up.  Being around the youth often brought me back to times when I had had similar experiences as a kid.

    And so my term with KEYS and ALEC comes to a close.  I can honestly say that I surprised myself and was surprised by others throughout this term of service.  The growth is hard to see when you are checking every step along the way, but when you examine who you were at the start of the race, and who you are at the end, you can see the importance of taking all of those steps.  My experience with KEYS Service Corps here in Pittsburgh has become an important part of my journey, and I'm excited to be able to look back in many years to see the impact it will have on me and those around me.

    Thank you to everyone who supports Brashear Association, because through that you also helped support me!  "So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!"

- Steven

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