This summer has delivered an enormous amount of realizations about the community throughout the South Bronx. Before arriving in New York from Ann Arbor I envisioned how my day-to-day duties, consistent interactions with the kids, and overall experience with SBU would be. These assumptions on my part were very inaccurate. I found the atmosphere of the Bronx to be much different than that of Ann Arbor or Detroit. While I still love the city of Detroit, the vibrancy of the South Bronx was very uplifting and enjoyable and a different scene than that much of Detroit operates under currently. Everywhere you went there were tons of people making their way throughout the city and what seemed like an everlasting cycle of buses and taxis that consistently provided the Bronx with its harmonious sound. I would urge anyone who has not ventured to the Bronx to not judge it until they come check it out for themselves. I have found a respect and admiration for this historical place and plan to return some day in the near future.
The most memorable part of my summer was the Summer Soccer Scholars Program that South Bronx United puts on every year. Throughout this program I met many other interns and employees at SBU that I will never forget, as well as formed many friendships with the students to which I taught. The class that I headed was a personal finance course for 7th and 8th graders who are heading to high school soon and will eventually look for employment. Not only did the course allow the students to gain a better understanding of what the phrase personal finance actually entails, but also allowed me to gain experience with teaching and working for a non-profit that gives back to the community in many different ways.
Towards the end of the course, the students worked on a budgeting project that compiled a lot of what they had learned throughout the course into a presentation they had to perform in front of the entire class. One student in particular, Andrea Madrid, was a great student throughout the course and had a great conclusion for her project. “I have a lot of observations on preparing a budget. I now know how to organize my money wisely and also realize that you need a budget to organize your finances and to keep track of your savings.”
Before this project many students were not able to come up with an answer to what a budget is and why someone would keep one, and by the end of the course they were able to break down how they would budget throughout the beginning years of their dream career. This was very refreshing to see the growth these students showed and I have no doubt that they will be very successful in whatever endeavor they find themselves apart of if they keep the same eagerness to learn they showed throughout my course.
– Thomas Lambert