Friday concluded my first week as a fellow at the Columbus Early Learning Centers. While I am just beginning my journey here, there is another group that is finishing their journey. Friday morning, I had the opportunity to witness the graduation of seventeen four and five year old children, who will be moving on to Kindergarten this fall. It was moving to see the smiles of the children and their family members as they received their diplomas, marking one of the earliest of many milestones on their educational journey. At the conclusion of the ceremony, I found myself in tears of laughter as the children looked with distress as their family members encouraged them to throw their caps in the air. It was clear from their expressions that the seventeen four and five year olds found this to be a ridiculous request. Nevertheless, some of the caps did go flying, and the ceremony way a success.
Before I go any further, I should introduce myself. My name is Alex Downie and I am going to be a fourth year student at the Ohio State University majoring in Political Science. After graduation, I plan to attend law school and hope to go on to do legal work for an interest group or nonprofit organization. For this reason, I am incredibly excited to be working at the Columbus Early Learning Centers (CELC) this summer as a fellow, where one of my overarching projects will be to create a volunteer program. The CELC is an organization committed to providing affordable child care and education with a focus on responsive caregiving, intentional teaching, community collaboration, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Although I have considerable experience volunteering and coordinating volunteer opportunities through my university, I have never had the opportunity to work with volunteers on the side of the service organization, and am thankful that the Columbus Foundation and The CELC is proving me with this opportunity.
Over the past week, in addition to working on and witnessing the graduation ceremony, I have been able to sit in on several of the classrooms to learn more about the organization and the people that it serves. In addition, I have started developing the volunteer program. I am now in the process of drafting a volunteer manual, researching legal requirements for bringing volunteers into a childcare facility, and have been gathering information on methods of recruiting volunteers and ideas for possible service projects at the facility. I hope to have much of this initial preliminary work finished over the next few weeks so that we can begin to bring in volunteers by mid summer. Please stay tuned to this site as I provide weekly updates into my journey at the CELC.
(Note: The postings on this site are of my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Columbus Early Learning Centers)