March 30, 2009 - 3:00 PM
Today I got the privilege of joining 4j School District employees from various schools and positions to learn about educating homeless children. The coordinator of the ACE after school program that I work in knew that I was interested in homelessness issues, especially in relation to children and families, so she helped get me registered for this special workshop. I ended up taking a lot away from it.
Kasey White, the Homeless Liaison for the 4j School District, put on the workshop. Her job involves making sure that homeless children are assured their right to an education. She makes sure that they have transportation and provides support for the families.
The main focus of the workshop was on the McKinney-Vento Act. This Act was created in order to give homeless children an equal opportunity for education. It allows a homeless child to go to whatever school they want despite the district they live in, as well as providing free transportation to that school if they need it. The Act also calls for the immediate registration of a homeless child, even if they are not able to provide necessary medical records and other such documents at the time of enrollment. Kasey White then works to help get the needed documents for official enrollment.
It was a very interesting topic to discuss, as it is becoming more and more of an issue. There are approximately 2,100 homeless individuals residing in Lane County alone. Many parents have been worried of losing their jobs and in turn not being able to pay their rent, due to the current state of the economy. This is why it is so important for educators to understand topics such as the McKinney-Vento Act.
I am a firm believer that a good education is the key to solving many problems of the world. I think that a good education can help homeless children to one day rise out of poverty and do something amazing. It is great to see the 4j School District giving homeless children that opportunity and providing the children, as well as the staff, with the types of resources needed to succeed. I realize that the school districts could use a lot more money, but I am impressed by the work that they do with the budget cuts they continually face.
I ended up talking more with Kasey White after the workshop and have decided to begin volunteering for her once a week and then once a week for a school called New Roads. New Roads is a school for at risk youth who need extra attention to make sure that they graduate from high school and succeed. It will be a great experience for me to be able to shadow Kasey White's work and I'm sure it will be inspirational to see all that she does for the homeless families in Eugene.
March 28, 2009 - 3:00 PM
Whenever I go home to California, I always start my visit the same. First thing is first - my dog, Scooby. I pick her up and we go to the beach. I feel so at home with my feet in the roaring, freezing waves of the Pacific Ocean, running across the sand with my faithful pooch. This spring break, I had to stay in Eugene until late Wednesday because I was taking classes to get certified in CPR and first aid for my job at the elementary school. So, I only had a few days to spend in little Humboldt County, California. I arrived home at around 10pm on Wednesday night and was so excited to see my tan and black, happy hound wagging her tail outside of my car door. It was late though, so our adventure to the beach would have to wait and until tomorrow.
The next day, our adventure turned out to be even more exciting than usual! My friend from the UO, Amber, had gone down to Fort Bragg, California at the beginning of spring break and was driving back up to Eugene that day. Her route back to Eugene passed through my hometown, so she called me up to see if I wanted to meet up. Scooby and I were about to get going, so I told her that it would be awesome if she met me at my house and then we could all go to the beach together for a little while.
Scooby and I were quite pleased to have some great company with us at the beach. The three of us walked toward the water, Scooby smelling everything she possibly could along the way. When we got to the water, I took off my shoes and prepared for my oceanic cleansing. I always walk out into the ocean until the water is about to my knees and just stand there and look at the incredible expanse of it. I always tell people that the ocean is my God. It is something powerful, beautiful, and far bigger than me and it always brings me a sense of reassurance and new beginnings. My dog usually sits at the edge where the wet sand meets the dry sand and looks at me like I'm crazy. She doesn't do water.
I looked back to find Amber joining me and soon we were frolicking in the cold, salty sea. On the walk back to the car, we shared some good convo as the northwest winds pushed us around. It was great to be able to share my home with one of my friends from college. It was like I was finally beginning a connection between my two worlds. Maybe what has seemed to be two separate lives for so long can finally become my own one, whole, unique life.
March 24, 2009 - 2:00 PM
A couple months ago, I wrote a blog post on how I loved my Ancient Greek class and how I found it fascinating and it was because of these feelings that I would be able to stick it out through all of the hard grammar and memorization. Well, things change. Although I do still think that Ancient Greek is an absolutely cool subject to study, to be truly successful at it, you have to be able to dedicate all of your time to it. With work and other classes, this couldn't happen for me.
Winter term Greek 102 was one of my most difficult classes so far. First of all, it was winter term, which is always just kind of tough since it's dark and cold outside and hence making it the time college students are the most ridden with existential angst. Second, Greek 102 moves super fast. We're talking at the speed of light. After only one class session, you can be expected to have memorized like five different sets of six verbs endings and have to know how they translate.
Meanwhile, everyone keeps throwing words at you like aorist subjunctive active, future more vivid conditional sentence, and genitive of agent, and you are suppose to know what all of this means! I struggled a lot with this term and went from getting an A- fall term, to changing my grading option to pass/no pass winter term and praying to pass.
Well, I happen to be a pretty quality student in my opinion, so of course I rallied toward the end and studied as much as I could for the final. I showed up every day for the last two weeks of class and tried my best on every homework assignment. I walked out of the final on Friday, March 20 and felt so great! I was finally done! All of that stress was behind me! There really is no feeling quite like finishing finals week. It is so relieving. At that point, the fate of my grade was up to Zeus and however it ended up, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Today, I logged on to DuckWeb to check my grade and...I passed Greek!!!! Yes!!! It felt so good to have all of that hard work pay off and to have that worry and stress out of my life!
Looking back at the two years I took of Ancient Greek at the University of Oregon, I am still very happy that I did it and I do not see it as a waste even if it doesn't count toward my degree now. It really is an amazing subject and helps expand the mind to some of its farthest extents. I might go back some day after I graduate and take more of it. Then I can relax and enjoy it as my only class instead of having to worry about everything else still.
However, I still need my language requirement. I'm in the Honors College and if there is one criticism I have it is that the Honors College requires undergraduates to fulfill both the math and science credits as well as the language credits. Outside of the Honors College, students only have to pick one. I think that both are incredibly important and greatly enrich the learning experience, but when students have so many other requirements to graduate as is, it makes it very hard to fit all of that in. It is especially hard with the language requirement because you have to have two-year equivalency, which means a full six terms of language. That takes up a lot of space in a schedule. It is also part of the reason why I will be handing over (a good chunk created by loans) another $23,397.00 in out-of-state tuition and fees to the University of Oregon for a fifth year. Awesome, huh? Not so much. I love the UO though, so somewhere buried in those ten of thousands of dollars in loans, it's worth it. I'm going to start the sign language sequence fall term 2009 - less grammar.
March 20, 2009 - 7:00 PM
As I've said before, I have the best job in the world. Not only are my co-workers incredible, but also the kids I work with are so much fun and remind me to have that innocent, childlike fun in my everyday life. Last night, we had our annual Pajama Jam at Meadowlark Elementary School. Pajama Jam is where all of the kids and staff dress up in their pajamas and after the regular after school program is over at 5:30pm, the parents show up for a night of pancakes and fun!
Our first task was getting the thirty or so excited kids into their pajamas. If I said I'd never seen so much running around and screaming in a gym before, it would be a lie, however, this did come close! The kids were so excited and so wired from a long day at school. Our staff is incredible though and we soon had them dressed, ready, and quiet in the library.
While we waited for the parents to show up, we worked on some of our own, personalized Mad Libs. The staff had written stories about certain activities in our program or about staff members and then had taken words out of them so that the kids could give us new words and then we would surprise them with a funny story including their input. I had the kids raise their hands in the library and wrote down the different nouns, verbs, adjectives, numbers, body parts, foods, and more that I asked them for. When we took them into the cafeteria to meet with their parents, I put the words onto the large Mad Libs stories we had posted on the wall. When everyone was settled, our program coordinator read them aloud. I'm pretty sure one of them turned out to be something like, "Korrin is so dusty. I can't believe she sings everything while wearing earrings!" They were pretty funny and it was nice for the kids to be able to see the thing that their words had helped create.
Next was the best part - the buffet line! We had the event catered by iHop and had endless toppings for the pancakes, including chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberries, syrup, whipped cream, and more! We also had fresh fruit, Sunny D, and chocolate milk. It was quite a lovely meal. I had helped decorate the dining area earlier. We covered the tables with paper that we decorated to look like quilts. Then, I placed some little felt pillows and eye masks that the kids had made in one of my classes as centerpieces. It was so colorful and fun.
The night ended with storytelling, song singing, and crafts. The kids created quilt squares out of paper so that we could put together a paper quilt on one of the bulletin boards. One of the kids made me a quilt square that said, "I am happy when I see Korrin." I put it up on my wall at home. I went home and unfortunately had to start stressing over studying for my Greek final the next day, but it was worth it. I love these events we are able to put on for the kids. I love my job!
March 17, 2009 - 7:00 PM
As much as I'd like to, I can't really afford to travel the world right now. I need to finish school and I need to do some serious fundraising before that can happen to the extent that I would like it to. However, I have come to realize lately that I can find little travels, mini travels in my everyday life. Sometimes, I will randomly, spur of the moment turn down a street I've never been on. Instead of taking the same monotonous path to work everyday, I'll take the back road, winding around quaint little Eugene neighborhoods. The adventure of it, the exploration, the newness, and the beauty of it thrills me.
Eugene also happens to be perfectly located for little day or weekend trips to other cities, parks, or adventures. Yesterday, I left on one of my first trips out of Eugene to explore the amazing bits of Oregon that I am surrounded by. I drove up to Portland to visit with family, go to a luncheon on poverty issues, and most importantly, get out of Eugene and into an individual adventure. It turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.
I woke up yesterday morning bright and early to go to my 8am final and then right after it, grabbed a chai tea to go and hit the road, headed toward Portland. I loved having some me time to just rock out in my car. When I got to Portland, the adventure was on! I soon found myself trying to navigate around downtown Portland, a place I had never driven in before. My quest to find a parking garage close to the Tiffany Center was invigorating. Once I found one, I was on foot, looking for the place where the luncheon I was there to attend would be held.
I found where it was with plenty of time to kill, so I began an exploration. I walked down random streets, took in the energy of the city, and applauded myself for jumping out of my comfort zone and setting off on a mini travel. I eventually, possibly unfortunately, found myself outside of, and then inside of, Banana Republic. After that short stop, it was time to walk back up to where the event I was attending would be held. I smiled at the passion of the fur protesters as I passed them on a street corner.
Next, it was time for the luncheon. The luncheon was on poverty and was put on by Human Solutions, an organization in Portland aimed at homeless prevention. I had found out about the event online and decided to go to it in order to network with people from organizations I would be interested in interning with for the summer. I walked into the second floor ballroom of the Tiffany Center and was inspired to see how many people were sitting at the tables of this event.
I introduced myself to all of my tablemates and began to eat the delicious lunch that was provided. The speakers during the luncheon were very inspiring. One woman talked about how she went from generational poverty to earning her PhD. Once homeless and living off whatever food her family could find, she had now published a book and become educated to the greatest extent. I got some business cards from some people at the event who were interested in helping me get involved for the summer, and then headed out to find my car. Parking was $10!!! I was a tad outraged that I had spent that much on parking for a few hours. I guess that just comes with the city though.
Next, I was off to my aunt and uncle's house. I got a little lost, ended up at the Portland Zoo, and had to call my dad to MapQuest my way back to my aunt and uncle's. However, I appreciated the adventure of it! Sometimes it's great to get lost because that is when you truly find things. I was relieved to finally make it to my aunt and uncle's though. I was pretty exhausted after taking a final, driving, and going to this luncheon, all on about three and a half hours of sleep. I took a nap and woke up to a delightful dinner with family. Dinner was of course followed by dessert and then we all went to the Alberta Street Public House around 9pm. My aunt's sister plays the fiddle and a group she is in was playing that night at this pub. The pub had a great energy to it. It was a small, friendly space and the music was a lot of fun! There's nothing quite like some good old bluegrass to get you tapping your foot. Plus, my readers should know by now how much I appreciate local businesses!
The next morning, I woke up and met my cousin's new baby girl! She was adorable and it was so nice to finally make that connection. I drove home a couple of hours later because I needed to make it back to Eugene on time to get to work. It had just been a little overnight trip, but it had brought a lot with it. It was nice to just get out and do something different. I love mini travels. They help me remember the beauty in the world and exactly how much I am capable of.