One program that I have been involved with at Tufts since last semester and plan to continue over the next few years is Junior Jumbos. Junior Jumbos is partnered under the Leonard Carmichael Society (the umbrella organization governing service opportunities at Tufts). Through the program, we are each matched with a preschool student - often with similar academic and extracurricular interests - at Bright Horizons preschool in Teele Square (five minutes away from campus). During these weekly visits, we accompany our preschooler within their classroom setting, spending time playing outside in the playground during recess, singing songs together in group time or working on activities of their choice (my student and I quite enjoy colouring).
The four year old I work with is a talkative, curious girl who is, by all accounts, one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. As an aspiring artist and combined degree student with the SMFA, it makes me even happier that she is a budding artist herself. Her carefree and unencumbered approach to expressing her creativity have been both refreshing and informative in my own artistic process.
But what I love most about my visits is that the two hours I spend in Teele Square immerse me into a different world; one where my next Arabic paper is not as important as finding where the green crayon is, and where a conversation about last night’s dinner is overtly entertaining. Just like most four year olds, she always has questions and keeps me on my toes, making me think.
While last semester I visited her on Fridays at 3pm, this semester I find myself at Bright Horizons midweek. Time with her acts as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the week. I rush straight from my Philosophy class to see her on Wednesdays, and all of my impending essays, deadlines, and assignments vanish from my mind.
College can be stressful, and my time at BHTS is always an exciting part of my week. More importantly, I’m reminded each Wednesday of the impact I can have on younger ones in their development and enrichment. I cherish my friendship with her and hold our time together dearly. It has been amazing to see her grow throughout the year, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have shared a part in her time at school and look forward to continuing to make my weekly trips for the next four years!
Photo Credit: Flickr, Daniel Christello