On Wednesday, April 9th, 92 elementary students from surrounding schools journeyed to St. Norbert College for Kids 2 Campus. Youth who attend a YMCA or Boys and Girls Club After-School program at high poverty schools in the Green Bay School District participated in the visit. Kids 2 Campus is an annual event that began in 2006 with students from a single after-school program and now includes students participating in after-school programs at Keller, Danz, Nicolet, Sullivan, Eisenhower, Doty, Jefferson and Fort Howard schools. This event provides youth with the opportunity to visit the campus and experience college life to promote college as an option for them. It also gives them a glimpse of where the SNC volunteers they work with through other projects and programs come from. The day consisted of a campus tour, dinner at Michels commons, and a lesson that focused on Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) and Leadership. This year 36 SNC students volunteered at this event. Below are reflections of the event shared by three of these volunteers: Mara Aparnieks, Hannah Kestly and Rachel School.
By Mara Aparnieks
Kids 2 Campus brings students from Green Bay area schools to St. Norbert College for an afternoon of exploring what college life is like and participating in engaging lessons. This is my second year participating in the event. Last year, I helped out as a teacher for one of the lessons. This year I was able to spend even more time with the students as a volunteer.
My favorite part of Kids 2 Campus is eating dinner with the students. When we first walk into the cafeteria with them, I absolutely love how their eyes light up, usually followed by exclamations of “YOU GET TO EAT HERE?!” It really makes me appreciate how beautiful St. Norbert College is and how lucky I am to attend this school. While the inevitable food frenzy begins, the kids eventually settle down at a table (with heaping bowls of ice cream and plates piled high with pizza, pasta, and the rare piece of fruit). The St. Norbert students then get to chat with them. This one-on-one time is not only valuable to the kids, but also to us. I know as a pre-service teacher that being able to relate to the students is an integral part of my job, and I get to do this as I hear about their crazy hair day at school or the math problems they worked on. Overall, the most influential part of Kids 2 Campus is this opportunity I – as an SNC student – have to inspire them to dream big. They inspire me to appreciate what I have and the little parts of my life that make it so special.
By Hannah Kestly
I first volunteered for Kids 2 Campus last year as a first year student and really enjoyed the experience. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to do it again this year. As an elementary education major, I always try to participate in campus events that work with kids, so Kids 2 Campus relates perfectly to my career goals! Kids 2 Campus is a great opportunity to get younger kids excited about college. Giving the kids a brief tour of the campus and eating dinner with them was the most influential part of their visit.
Kids 2 Campus is a great way for education majors and other students who enjoy working with kids to gain volunteer experience and learn more about working with kids from the surrounding communities. My favorite part of the day is when the kids first arrive and get off their buses because you can tell that they are excited to be at St. Norbert and excited to learn more about college. I could tell that the kids I worked with in my group enjoyed themselves throughout the entire visit. It was fun to hear them say things like “This place is so cool!” and “When I go to college I’m coming to St. Norbert.”
By Rachel School
Kids 2 Campus provided me with an opportunity to work with young children, raise college awareness and cultivate an interest in the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Since I am considering a career as an educator, this event showed me a different aspect of education. One does not always need to be in a classroom to teach. During this event, I had the opportunity to work with a group of kids on an activity designed to build leadership and teamwork skills. My role was to guide and mentor the kids, not directly instruct them. It was wonderful to see the kids working together, trying new ideas, and stepping into leadership roles.