Friday, May 10, 2013

Kaleigh J.

In the past month, I’ve been helping to collect other job interview information.  I collected info about what to wear and tips on what to say to some of the interview questions I posted earlier.  Mia, Sam, and Ashley even helped with the interviews!  I hope that they can take what they learned to the “real world” and get a job!  Getting your first paycheck is so satisfying!  I’ve also helped make flash cards about proper classroom behavior—raising your hand, not speaking over someone, keep your hands/feet  to yourself, etc.

Overall, it’s been a great year at Rivendale.  It was difficult for me to realize the impact we made until now.  This semester, we were able to get into the classroom more and really see how our work has made a difference and helped in the students’ learning.  I’m so glad that I was able to help throughout the year, and I’m glad that our partners benefited from our service.  

Mia Y.

Our project with Rivendale evolved over the course of the school year according to the needs of the school. Originally we had planned on working directly with the kids and teaching them social skills. Once we started volunteering, we realized our class schedules wouldn’t allow us to be at Rivendale during the time allotted to their social skills class. To still contribute to the social skills class, we worked with the teachers to build the curriculum since this was a new program. We put together activities for the kids to complete that incorporated motor skills, manners and general conversation tips.
During the second semester we were able to get in the classroom to observe how our work was affecting the kids. We were even able to assist in mock job interviews to prepare the high school aged kids for the “real world.” Having the opportunity to see the kids learning firsthand made me realize that they aren’t that different than any other kid. Sure they have to learn a bit differently, but they seem to be more eager to learn. The main benefit I gained from volunteering at Rivendale is I gained an appreciation for the opportunities I have been blessed with. I no longer take for granted the fact that I can feel comfortable around a large group of people that I don’t know or that I can carry on a conversation without having to worry about not understanding facial expressions or body language. I also have gained a greater appreciation for school because the kids have inspired me to be excited about learning again.

Samantha W.

Reflecting on our project to date, a sense of pride washes over me; I am so thankful for the girls I have become closer to and the children who have touched my heart. Our project was initially designed to integrate (and teach) a social skills class for the higher functioning autistic children. As push came to shove, that plan was simply unattainable due to differences in schedules between the four of us girls, as well as each girl and Rivendale. The outcome was by far better than I could have ever expected though. Each of us girls played an individual role in creating a social skills curriculum for the students, which was taught by their teachers (who they were more familiar with anyway) then we were able to sit in on these classes and observe learning at its finest. The smile that would spread across each child’s face once they grasped a new concept was overwhelmingly exciting!
I am so thankful to have had this opportunity, for it has made me realize that while I may not have had a huge impact on a vast population, I have been able to help at least one child succeed and accomplish a task that for them, was equivalent to moving mountains. I am so proud of each child at Rivendale and am so appreciative of the faculty and staff that put all effort they have in to these students. Being part of Summit Park Apartment living has absolutely had a positive effect on my every day outlook at life. 

Ashley M

During the year at Rivendale, I have done everything from what seems like office work to getting to watch the kids use the materials we made in their classrooms.  It is possibly one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.  When talking to our community advisers about what all we have done for them, I never realized we had done so much. It seemed like little things that would not do much but in fact we almost built this curriculum from the ground up.  In the begining when applying for Summit, we thought we would just be making videos to help kids see how to behave in social situations.  At first it was a rough start when this was able to be done.  But now we have managed to build a whole curriculum for a school.  My time at Rivendale has made me appreciate the little things in life that I had begun to ignore.  I will miss being apart of the school but I am glad that we were able to make such a difference

Monday, April 1, 2013

Kaleigh J.

This past month, I've helped plan the St. Patrick's Day party for the students at Rivendale.  I tried finding games that also had some educational aspect.  I found individual games (word searches, coloring pages, cross word puzzles) and found some interactive games as well.  I tried having team activites so that the students could work with their peers in a fun way.  One game was just a scavenger hunt--finding the pot of gold! I didn't get a chance to talk to Stephanie or Anne, but I thought they seemed like fun, so I'm hopeful that the student's thought so too!

I also made flash cards for the communication group of what were good and poor manners.  It was actually pretty hard for me to think of images to go along with mannerisms.  Many of the things that we know to do (please, thank you, excuse me, not interrupting others) are expressions or actions.  They're difficult to explain. Many of the students benefit from images rather than oral explanations, but  how do you show someone saying thank you without using words?  I had to get creative with this project.  I picked images of shaking hands and holding the door open for someone to show what good manners looked like.  After forcing myself to find images, I can understand why it's difficult for someone who is a visual learner to understand certain mannerisms. They're simply hard to "see".

Most recently, I've been working on writing interview questions and tips for the teen students.  Stephanie told me that they're working on transitioning the student's into the "real world" and teaching them some basic job skills that they could put on their resume.  They're learning how to wash and fold their clothes (like for a job in a hotel) and are getting ready to start volunteering at an animal shelter.  Hopefully we can pair up with the students and volunteer with them.  Maybe we can even hold mock interviews for them!  We've been in contact with Stephanie so we're trying to work out the days to make this possible.  We're also trying to buy a small aquarium for the front office.  Hopefully, student's could be assigned different days to feed the fish and learn more about responsibility.

Job Interview Questions
General Questions
  1. Why are you looking for a job?
  2. Why are you interested in working for our company?
  3. How has school prepared you for working at our company?
  4. Why should we hire you?
  5. What do you think it takes to be successful in this position?
  6. How would you describe your ability to work as a team member?
  7. What has been your most rewarding accomplishment?
  8. Tell me about a major problem you recently handled.
  9. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor or teacher?
Questions about YOU
  1. What is your greatest weakness?
  2. What is your greatest strength?
  3. How will your greatest strength help you perform?
  4. How would you describe yourself?
  5. Do you work well with other people?
  6. How do you handle stress and pressure?
  7. What motivates you?
  8. What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make?
  9. Tell me about yourself
  10. What are you passionate about?
  11. What are your pet peeves?
  12. When was the last time you were angry? What happened?
  13. Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?
  14. Give some examples of teamwork.
  15. What type of work environment do you prefer?
  16. If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something how would you handle it?
  17. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it.
Job Interview Questions About the New Job and the Company
  1. What interests you about this job? Why do you want this job?
  2. What applicable attributes / experience do you have?
  3. Why should we hire you?
  4. What can you contribute to this company?
  5. What is good customer service?
  6. Is there anything I haven't told you about the job or company that you would like to know

Job Interview Tips

Practice answering interview questions and practice your responses to the typical job interview questions and answers most employers ask. Think of actual examples you can use to describe your skills. Providing evidence of your successes is a great way to promote your candidacy. Also have a list of your own questions to ask the employer ready.
Prepare a response so you are ready for the question What do you know about this company? Know the interviewer's name and use it during the job interview. If you're not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview. Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions.
Get Ready
Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with copies of your resume. Bring a pen and paper for note taking.
Be On Time
Be on time for the interview. On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the interview location ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there. Here's more on preparing for an interview.
Stay Calm
During the job interview try to relax and stay as calm possible. Take a moment to regroup. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question before you answer and pay attention - you will be embarrassed if you forget the question!
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Describe two or three skills you have that are relevant to the job. Avoid clich├ęs or generalities; offer specific evidence. Describe new ways these skills could be put to use in the position you are being considered for.  Know a weakness of yours and how you’ve overcome it; offer specific evidence.

Follow Up
Always follow-up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. If you interview with multiple people send each one a personal thank you note. Send your thank you note (email is fine) within 24 hours of your interview.

Samantha W.

For the month of March, the updates are pretty minimal due to Spring Break having taken place one week and then Rivendale being on break one week as well as Spring Break. They work using a different system of “x” amount of weeks in class, 1 week off. I’m quite jealous, myself.
I did have one break through idea that has been shared with the other ladies in the group that I was pretty excited about! How realistic is it? I’m not too terribly sure… I was thinking back to my childhood and remembered always having some sort of class pet. The teachers would use this as a way to teach the students how to take turns feeding/watering the animals, as well as the importance of completing chores/tasks. My idea was to implement this type of program at Rivendale. My initial idea was a larger fish tank. It could be used as decoration, as well as to benefit the children. Smaller animals such as a rabbit or hamster would be fun, but could be dangerous for children who do not know how to handle them. We also need to worry about allergies.
As far as updating the school with teaching supplies and lesson plans, we have continued in our success! Each day spent at Rivendale becomes more and more special. We have spoken with our counterparts, Anne and Stephanie, who have provided us with upcoming events such as garage sales and student programs that we can participate in with the children. I am so excited to be a part of the children’s lives outside of a classroom!

Ashley M.

Is past month at Rivendale, I have been creating games to help the children become better at socializing with one another.  One of the challenges I have been facing is interacting with the children.  I have been hoping to work with the children and see how the things I am creating will be used.  That is going to be my goal the rest of the semester.  Everyday that I am at Rivendale, I walk pass the classrooms and see the great work that is happening there.  It warms my heart that my small task is really helping these kids live a normal life.