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In the World of Children, it’s the Small Heartfelt Touches that Create Big Meaningful Change

Service leaders smiling and holding signs at a school

This post is part of the series, “From the Service Front Lines,” written by service leaders.

Serving is not easy, especially in a big and less resourced school such as Bovet primary school. The worst part is waking up in the morning, whilst you still desire to be sleeping and can’t seem to get rid of the morning fatigue. By the time you leave the house, you try to give yourself some positive self-talk to set the foundation for a productive day. However, by the time you get to the MTN Rank you are already feeling discouraged (traffic and just general public transport services). So imagine starting your day off on that foot. When you finally get to school however, the biggest joy of the day is seeing my learners. What keeps me going is them walking up to me during break supervision or assembly just to come and greet me ‘’Ma’am.’’ And I remember again that it is worth it.

City Year service leaders in a child abuse awareness parade with students holding signs

One of my biggest highlights is the change I see in two of my learners. Busi* is a very dedicated and eager student. She is not strong academically, but her attitude is outstanding.  She struggles in Maths and English. Since joining the club, she has been improving, it shows throughout her marks and from the maths and English quizzes we have been doing and she did incredibly well in the Spelling Bee competition.  One of my best moments is when her mother noticed her improvement and sent her compliments for the amazing work my colleague and I are doing.

Service leader on the playground with learners

The other learner wrote me a very emotional happy Mother’s day Card and Thank You Card.  Palesa* said she is no longer shy since I asked her do a presentation in front of the whole CYCC Class. What she does not know is that I asked her specifically to do her presentation to the class because she is doing very well academically, she just needs to work on her confidence and social skills. She likes to isolate herself from the others, sit at the back of the class and hardly say a word.  But when she puts her thoughts on paper, she is very good. One of the reasons she said she does not like to be in front is because she is shy and that her peers will laugh at her- which is quite sad because she is doing very good academically.  Hence, the reason why I always feel the need to include her in leadership activities so that she can take back her confidence. She shocked me when she requested to be part of the spelling bee contestants and PT Crew. It is learners like these that makes serving for me as something enjoyable-it is true when they say ‘’the joy of service has no limits.’’  I have learned to take it one day at a time, to stay focused when I find myself feeling drained and discouraged. I may not have touched many of the learner’s lives as yet, but there are those starfish that I have inspired and supported and they matter! I might not have reached them all, but I am grateful for those I have managed to reach and made a difference to thus far. It is the little things that are worth recognizing.

*Learner names changed to protect their identities

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