For the past few years, I have been navigating through the world of the mind. I changed my focus to psychology when I began failing my undergraduate physiology class. Even though that transition was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through (it has definitely been added to my list of traumatic experiences), I’m so glad I did it! Since then, I have gotten my Bachelor’s in Psychology and now I am working on my Master’s in Global Youth Development.
(The awesome GYD Cohort XII)
Through that grad program I have been able to continue my work on literacy (which I started as an undergrad), but around the world! As you all know, I am currently a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine. I teach English to about 200 students in a small village…and I’m loving every minute of it! Not only am I helping students improve their English language skills, but I also get to help them in other areas of their lives. One of the newest clubs I have had the opportunity to start is called Empowering Through Aid. This club gives students a chance to help their community, as well as themselves.
(Just a few of the students that I work with at the art school)
I created this Empowering Through Aid, over a year ago, while I was taking classes at the University of Montana. I was inspired by a program at the local YWCA: Girls Using Their Strength (GUTS!). I had the opportunity to intern with GUTS! when I decided to complete an independent study. I spent my time working throughout the community as an elementary and middle school group leader; helping girls discover their strengths and learn how to use them to better their surrounding communities.
(My elementary GUTS! group at their epic poetry slam)
Since leaving GUTS!, the Empowering Through Aid program has been my baby. It’s a structured, charitable program that addresses social emotional learning such as confidence, leadership, and empathy. This program not only teaches children about giving, but also allows them to grow as individuals by helping the community through critical thinking. During the program’s ten weeks, kiddos work on problem solving as a group, learning information about the world, and exploring important issues (e.g. different perspectives and opinions, diversity, and morals).
(Two out of the six students that I am working with)
P.S. Make sure to watch out for more exciting news about this program (i.e. the community project my students complete and if I am able to present this program at the 2018 APA Convention). Feel free to leave comment and/or ask any questions about the program below!