Today was the first day of our after school program at PS119. About 11 engineers from the tech track went to the school. It was a really good experience. Overall we all had a great time interacting with the kids and seeing how enthusiastic they were. So much different than the first visit as we were actually interacting with the kids a lot more. They were so welcoming and excited to see us. It was a very fulfilling experience. Seeing how we can impact these kids and help them in such small ways.
As for the trip, we took the subway to the school (6 train all the way). We got to the school around 3pm, so took us almost 1:30 hrs. There was a 10 minute walk from the train to the school. It wasn’t bad at all, I am guessing in peak winter it will be a little difficult to do the trek.
When we got to the school, we met the computer teacher. He took us to the library where our engineers (Roshen/Luke) went through the plan of what we were going to do. Since this was a tech track, he wanted to know exactly what we were going to do. He was very helpful throughout the process. At this time, the kids were doing their homework.
Around 3:30 we headed down to the cafeteria where the kids were having their snack. The librarian introduced us to the kids. That was an amazing feeling. The introduction was really good — how we helped revive their after school program. We took a banner with us, which had the picture of all the New York Office in our Next Jump t-shirts in front of the school. All of us stood in one corner of the cafeteria and opened the banner. All the kids were clapping and cheering. So excited to see us! That was the best feeling ever (Thanks to Albert for pushing us to take the banner. It was a great idea!). They are going to hang it up outside the gym.
After that we headed up to the library, divided into 2 groups of kids and NxJers. At around 3:45 we started the class. Roshen/Luke gave an introduction of who we were and then what we were going to do in the class. The teachers had told us to introduce ourselves, just names and then intro of the program. Keep it less verbose and get to the activity quicker. We gave a demo of the exercise and then each NxJ’er was helping a group of 5-6 kids with this activity.
Some of these kids were so smart and picked up the exercise very quickly. We had to come up with higher variations to make it more interesting. Each class always had a teacher there, ours was the computer teacher. Our class a little more loud and enthusiastic than the other. He had showed some tricks to calm them down – teacher’s clap for example – which worked really well for us.
In our class, after it ended, we asked them what they learnt about the lesson today. One of the kids responded so eloquently saying how we learned how to tell computers what to do. I was talking to the librarian afterwards and she mentioned that this kid is never engaged. She was so surprised how engaged he was today. It was so good to hear that we could bring in engagement and creativity to some of the kids that would normally be just sitting around and looking lost in the class.
The day ended at 5pm and we made our way back, leaving with a feeling of excitement.
All the best,