Hi there! This is Camila Uribe. I am a Richmond Promise Scholar and Assistant Coach at The Practice Space. In this blog post, I will share some stories, experiences, and reflections I’ve had while giving back to my community.
The kids at King Elementary, the site where I worked this summer, are a great bunch. Its hard to describe them in just one word but their shared trait was their wonderful sense of humor. Each of them had a unique brand of comedy that set them apart. If you’d like to get a glimpse of a typical day, take a look at this video:
One standout memory from the summer involves a young student I was assisting with his advocacy speech. In the beginning, he struggled with reading the words, often seeking my help for pronunciation. I gladly provided it, watching as he put in a determined effort to master the content. When it was time for the kids to perform their advocacy speeches he had learned his whole speech and no longer needed help. This made me proud of him because it made me realize how hard he was working on his speech.
Working with kids from my own community has added meaning to my role as a coach knowing I was once them. It has added meaning knowing that I can help them feel confident with public speaking. It also has added meaning to me knowing I can help change their lives even just a little bit. Building relationships with them and getting to know each of them as a person has added significance to my role as a coach. I am so grateful and I love the impact these kids have made on me. They have shifted my perspective on our community, highlighting the diverse backgrounds of each child and motivating me to continue working toward positive change.
I feel like I am making a difference in their lives by letting them know that someone will be there to listen to their voice. Sometimes adults dismiss kids and don’t listen to what they have to say. Our program aims to shift this narrative so they know that at The Practice Space, someone will always be there to listen to what they have to say. I hope that every young person knows that their voice is important and that speaking up for problems they see is okay.
I envision that my coaching experience at The Practice Space will help me prepare for my future. I want to pursue a career in the medical field, where communication skills are critical. The interactions with both TPS staff and the youth have helped me with my communication skills, equipping me to navigate different situations. Working with the TPS staff has also made me be better with my teamwork and knowing I have others to lean on when I need help to figure out challenges. Observing the leaders at TPS has helped me see what being a leader can look like which will definitely help me with my future goals.
If I could offer one piece of advice to the youth, it would be this: public speaking is scary and it’s okay to feel nervous. Remember there will always be someone to encourage and cheer you on and help is all around you.
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