Volunteer Perspective

Posted on November 24, 2015

Over the summer I interned with the CNNC, I personally learned about the diversity of cultures and backgrounds that are present here in Greensboro. Even though I am Latina, I was able to learn from my own Latino community here. In addition to this, I have also learned about the struggles that many immigrant and refugee populations have to go through in order to get to this country.

During the programming, since I worked mostly with children, I began to notice the ways in which leaving their home country or place of settlement and coming to the United States had affected them. However, most of what I noticed was a negative attitude whenever I had children talk about their own culture and heritage. Seeing that both children from Glen Haven and Oakwood Forest centers were indifferent about their own cultures and language, I started to ask myself what I could do to remind them about how special they each are, but also have children learn from each other’s cultures as well.

I decided to create a heritage celebration event that took place at two of the centers. From what I noticed, both Glen Haven and Oakwood Forest sites were different in the sense of community it exerted. For example, the parental involvement level of Glen Haven was very low because of jobs and other commitments during evening hours, so I decided to create a celebration more focused on the children.

The different events of the celebration consisted of icebreakers and activities that asked each child to for example, share their whole full names and why they were named that. Other activities consisted of presenting national food pictures of dishes from Bhutan, Nepal, Burma and even Liberia, countries from which the children come from. At the end, even a dancing portion happened because of very energetic Nepali girls wanting to share with everyone a very well practiced dance.

At both sites, similar heritage celebrations happened because I felt that as children, the pride of being from a different country and having a different culture should be more instilled in their everyday lives. During my whole internship, I have enjoyed getting to know more people and learning stories of the amazing people CNNC works with on a daily basis!

Jennifer Urdaneta, a Guilford College Bonner Scholar and Principled Problem Solving scholar studying Criminal Justice and Community & Justice, served over 280 hours doing an internship with our Community Center Sites Summer 2015.

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