Meet the AmeriCorps: Daniel

Daniel Akamine is an AmeriCorps member from Hawaii. Serving primarily with the Bobcat Learning Center at Jason Lee, Daniel teachers Enrichment Classes, tutors students, and supports the AVID classes. Daniel is a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Get to know Daniel more by reading of his time with Trinity so far.

I had never worked with middle school students before my AmeriCorps position at Trinity. My anxious assumption about these students stemmed from my own experiences as a 13 year old, when my friends and I enjoyed making our math and choir teacher cry. I assumed middle school students would be an intimidating and rambunctious group.

My expectations proved somewhat true. On my first day, I got into a argument with a student because they wanted to leave school early even though they were signed up for our after school programming. The interaction left me feeling like a failure, and I wondered if I was cut out to work with middle school students. As time went on, I continued to have similar interactions with students, but instead of failures, they were lessons. I realized these interactions could be a shout for attention; when students opened up to me about their personal lives, much of how they acted in school reflected the daily struggles they faced. I eventually learned that teaching middle school students is like a balancing act. You need to provide them with structure and rigidity, while simultaneously gives them slack and a nurturing environment.

I am continuously educating myself on how to better my approach my students facing difficult situations. This job keeps me on my feet and humble because not everyday is a good day for the students and I, but even the bad days are a catalyst as I continue to develop my communication and teaching style. The wisdom is in the work.

Rod Nash, Director of Outreach here at Trinity, recently observed Daniel while he worked at the Learning Center.

At the Learning Center we combine daily homework and study sessions with various enrichment activities for our Jason Lee students.  Last week I had the pleasure of watching Daniel Akamine lead his cooking enrichment activity.  15 or so students filled up the staff room at Jason Lee Middle School while Daniel worked with them to prepare tacos for their enrichment that day.  It was exciting to see Daniel’s skill and ability to work with all different types of students while guiding them toward a common goal of … well … tacos.  A worthy goal, to be sure!!   I could not be more proud of Daniel’s work with all our Learning Center students this year, and I know they are incredibly lucky to have him to work with each day after school.     

Thank you, Daniel, for being a part of the team!

Your support of the Trinity Outreach Programs, including the upcoming Outreach Auction, help us keep the incredible AmeriCorps staff on hand. We invite you to support this program and others, by registering for the Outreach Auction today!