When I first heard about TAP and what we’re all about, I knew it was the perfect volunteering opportunity for me. I wanted to be a part of my community and tangible social change. What better and fun way to do that for me then getting involved with helping children learn about important social issues, critical life skills, and gain self-confidence through the creative arts!
I first became involved with TAP through becoming an After School volunteer assisting a Teaching Artist at Langford Elementary. I was so excited about the opportunity that I made an arrangement with my supervisor to leave early every Tuesday to volunteer.
It’s a unique volunteer experience to volunteer every week; the students knew me and I was part of the class which made me feel like I was actually part of TAP and the mission. I was impressed with how the Teaching Artist worked with the students through improv, creating plays, creating art projects inspired by folk tales, and more, all woven with the common thread of social conscious topics.
It’s amazing to watch TAP’s unique way of engaging the students and how this helps them make deeper connections to the subjects and associate stories and messages in a very profound way. One example is when we read a book about Bessie Coleman, the first African American to become a licensed airplane pilot, and the first American of any race or gender to hold an international pilot license.
It was very moving to hear the students talk about the importance of this and relate it back to other stories they had read about other minorities who also lived in poverty and reached amazing goals. The Teaching Artist didn’t start this conversation, the students found the message and connection themselves. This is an example of tangible social change to me…witnessing the students understand another person’s experience and connect with it in such a meaningful way that they carried it with them and how they interpreted other stories and their perception of the world.
The students are also walking away thinking about these stories and remembering what they mean to them through the art projects they personally create based on their own interpretations and personal relation. In correlation with the Bessie Coleman story we made paper airplanes with the students and had them write their dreams and goals on the plane. It was interesting to hear them talk about what they wanted to be and what was important to them. One funny thing I over heard was, “yeah my mom makes a lot of money because she’s always on time to work”. Afterwards, we took the airplanes to the playground to fly, a very sweet and beautiful metaphor for their dreams to take flight.
I actually kept a journal of the days I spent at Langford, including quotes from the students. This experience enriched my life and made me feel genuinely connected to my community, so much so that I started volunteering at community events most weekends too. I was proud of investing so much time in TAP and the impact I witnessed within the community. I’m now the Community Relations Manager at TAP and I’m very grateful to help others experience volunteering in such a meaningful way.
Please let me know how you’d like to get involved and we’ll work together to find a good fit for you.
Contact me to schedule a volunteer orientation: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing stories from other TAP volunteers and Teaching Artists!! Please share:)