This year, Trinity is delighted to host AmeriCorps Staff Laura Johnson. Originally from Montana, Laura comes to us from Pacific Lutheran University, where she received a BA in English Literature, with minors in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Religion. Serving primarily with the Bobcat Learning Center at Jason Lee, Laura teachers Enrichment Classes, tutors students, and supports the AVID classes.
My time at Trinity thus far has been filled with many challenges and rewards. I have found wonderful opportunities for personal growth, building relationships, and learning about community outreach. But amongst the activities that my job entails, the greatest learning experience has simply been spending time getting to know our middle school students--especially during our Friday programming at Trinity.
After a week of programming at Jason lee, our Fridays at Trinity are a time for fun and relaxing activities--for both the students and staff. Whether we watch a movie, cook, or simply play games, there is always an abundance of laughter. A few weeks ago, I tried a new activity: leading the kids in making crepes.
French food and culture was a large part of my high school and college experience, and I was excited to share with the students in this small way. What I did not anticipate, however, was how engaged they would be. They took initiative in the cooking process in a way that I had not experienced with them before. Additionally, when I flipped a few crepes in the pan, they were impressed. And impressing a middle schooler is no small feat.
Beyond the lessons of adaptability, responsibility, and leadership that I am continuing to learn during my time here, I am also learning about the necessity (and joy) of spontaneity and surprises. Just as my students surprise and surpass my expectations, I can surprise them. Education is not and should not be a one way street. So in the next few months I’m looking forward to being surprised even more.
Rod Nash, director of Outreach at Trinity, sat in with Laura’s Enrichment Class early in her time here.
Earlier this fall, during just the second week of programming at the Bobcat Learning Center, I got to see Laura in action at the L.C. I knew both students and staff were just getting their feet wet with the after-school program. When I walked into the Library, I saw Laura standing in front of a group of 10-15 kids discussing their enrichment activity for the day. I watched as she spoke to the group, calling on students at different times. I knew that Laura was teaching an enrichment that involved students in a role-playing strategy game, and I had not been sure how students would react to this enrichment. To my surprise and pleasure, kids seemed 100% engaged and excited about what they were preparing to do. It was also enlivening to see Laura begin to teach these students about an activity she has grown to love in her own life.
Laura absolutely brings all of who she is to the Learning Center program, and our students are so lucky to have a leader like her to guide them along the way.
-Rod Nash, Director of Outreach, Trinity Pres. Church