Last Saturday was the first event with La California this year. We had 25 La Palabra De Vida 10th graders serving as tutors, soccer trainers, and on the work team. We had 25 La California 5th graders split into 3 groups. Each group cycled through one hour sessions of English Tutoring, Math Tutoring, and a Soccer Skill Clinic. We were also able to bring lunch for each student, many of whom saved most of it to take home to share with their families.
Savanna headed up the English Tutoring. Because we had so many tutors, we were able to give each student a conversation partner to review the skills they have been learning. I (James) did my meager best to run a Math tutoring session. Like English, we were able to have each student paired with a tutor as we worked on interpreting graphs and the distributive property for multiplication across parentheses (i.e. a x (b + c) = a x b + a x c).
The LPDV gym teacher, Johann, along with some 10th graders ran a soccer skills clinic. Lastly, Matt Befus lead the remaining LPDV students in various manual labor projects around the school like clearing overgrown areas.
It all went super well! The kids seemed to have a good time, and we hope that we were able to reinforce some of the topics they have been learning. But as with most ministry experiences, the volunteers were just as affected as those they came to serve.
During our debrief time, we heard from many 10th graders who had been touched by the stories and situations of the La California students. One girl, Lauren, met a 5th grader who had to quit the school soccer team because he wore out his shoes and could not afford to replace them. Lauren has started saving in order to buy him a pair of shoes. Another girl, Geanina, was touched when a 5th grader hugged her before they had even met. From her story the whole group began to realize just how hungry these kids are for positive attention from older kids.
We have more tutoring days scheduled already. We pray that we can continue to serve the physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of the community in this small way.