I thought I would take time and share my experience volunteering at Pinewoods Library and Learning Center. This library is an extension of Athens Clarke County Library and is a wonderful place that serves the impoverished, Latino community of the Athens area.
Located in a mobile home community, parents and their children are offered the resources and materials they need to survive in the dominant society. Pinewoods may be small, but as we all know, big things come in small packages. There are a variety of resources available for residents including 16 computers, a variety of books in English and Spanish and a room full of paper, pens, crayons and paint. The Hispanic families in the Athens area depend on Pinewoods to learn and grow as individuals. It is often the first place immigrant families go upon entering Georgia for the first time.
I have had a great time working with students who attend the after-school program that is offered. Each student works every afternoon to complete their homework, study for tests and use the computers. I have learned what a precious resource the internet is for low-income families…..they are all so eager to “google” and surf “Youtube.” English classes are also offered for those who wish to enhance their speaking abilities or who want to learn the English language for the first time. It is so moving to see the community put forth so much effort to find their place in society. The governor of Alabama might actually be enlightened if he saw the hard work that these families put forth to learn “our” language.
The Hispanic culture is one that I have learned to truly value. They are such passionate people and have a fierce ability to love and to learn. As a future teacher, I have taken so much from this exceptional experience.
Oh, and by the way. Did I mention that Pinewoods was a finalist in “America’s Best Small Library.” This is such an accomplishment, Congratulations! Here is the article.
Here I am with Gloria, a little girl in the Pre-K program at Pinewoods.
P.S. If anyone is at UGA and needs service learning/ volunteer hours (especially if you are an education major), this is a WONDERFUL place to go!
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~Edward Everett Hale