At the halfway point of my DukeEngage experience this summer, my future assignments look much different than what I was expecting in the beginning, but I am looking forward to completing them. I have two main assignments I am focusing on right now. My first assignment is working with two other college students to develop digital literacy lessons for families who received computers as a donation from the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool. The three of us were just kind of given this assignment and asked to run with it, and it has been a cool experience working to develop these lessons. We offer weekly lessons and have been working to design what we teach to best fit the needs of the parents of the preschool. We pick the topics, research information, and teach the lessons all by ourselves, and while it was a bit overwhelming at first, seeing the parents during the lessons and walking them through how to use Gmail or look up educational resources for their kids has been a highlight of my experience so far.
Another assignment I have that I am very excited about involves designing about a dozen flyers for families from the preschool to promote their own businesses. We recently held a workshop for parents where they had the opportunity to promote their businesses to everyone present in the meeting. In addition to this, the preschool is offering to design and print flyers for each business so that the families can continue promoting. I love graphic design and have been working on developing that skill ever since I got to Duke, and I am so glad that I can use this skill to help the families! I did not expect graphic design to play a role in my DukeEngage work this summer, but I offered to design a calendar for our workshops and after that, my supervisor asked me to make the business flyers as well.
My new assignments were unexpected, but in the best way possible, so I would say they have made me even more motivated to work. I have responded to the changes by just keeping an open mind and being confident in the fact that the organization is putting me to do work that will help them in the long-run. There have also been smaller unexpected experiences that were not as exciting, such as when a Loaves and Fishes food pantry gave away food that was supposed to go to one of our families to someone else. I responded to this problem by consulting several of my supervisors, and we all worked together to come up with the best solution to the problem. My community partner has dealt with several of these small setbacks, and I have seen them all handle them the same way, by working together to brainstorm solutions and having everyone contribute what they can to find the best way to solve the problems. Even with the setbacks, they have pushed through and continued to do the work they need to do to support the community, and I admire them greatly.