As of mid June, I began my work with the Community Action Network (CAN) of Washtenaw County. CAN has three goals that it sets out to achieve: to educate children and youth, to stabilize families, and to build stronger communities. I was drawn to this opportunity because I’ve always had a passion for helping kids that come from under-resourced families, and CAN allows me to do just that. As a summer associate of CAN, I am working at one of the summer camps in Ann Arbor that is based in a housing cooperative. The purpose of this camp is to fight against a phenomenon called summer loss of learning that causes kids to fall behind in classes after the long summer. Kids from low-income families suffer from this more so since their parents often focus on finances and making ends meet over spending time studying or reading with their children. This lack of attention causes this group of kids to struggle more than their peers. So on a day to day basis, my coworkers and I lead lessons about animals and various world cultures; we spend time reading to or with the kids; we discuss emotions in order to foster healthy development; and we try to promote a love of learning. I hope to be a positive role model for the kids and demonstrate the traits needed to be successful. As I just finished up week three of camp, I definitely have bonded with the kids and hope to continue this progress. Last week we ended with nearly 40 campers that we’ve been teaching, and it’s been quite the joyride. I hope the rest of my CAN experience goes this well!
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