I first became involved in the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF) as a student in September of 1999. I was one of the first participants in the program when it was established at PS/MS 279 that year. The next year, I volunteered with CHCF, helping my mother Maria Rivera with her assigned group. Soon after that, I became a staff member.
In 2004, I graduated from high school and had to resign my position as an assistant group leader because I was starting college at Binghamton University. During breaks from college, I returned to the city to volunteer in CHCF and help out in any way I could. I recently graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Education and I’m now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education Binghamton University. And I do hope to continue to help out CHCF in any way I possibly can.
Participating in CHCF as a student gave me an opportunity to develop my social skills and to participate in new activities, including dance and art. It helped me become more creative in the ways I approach things and to be more imaginative.
As a CHCF staff member, I’ve learned so much about working with children of all ages and the proper approaches to different classroom situations. Working at CHCF allowed me to experience what it’s like to be a teacher or a guide in a classroom. I’ve always loved working with children and it was wonderful to be given the responsibility of doing it and being trusted to do it well. I was able to help many children, who, to this day, still know me and thank me for what I did for them.
I always wanted to be a teacher, but CHCF made me want it more because I saw first-hand the opportunities that this program and others like it provide for both the children who are involved and the staff. CHCF brought me a step closer to my dream by giving me the up-close and personal experience of working directly with children. While I was teaching them, my students in the CHCF taught me many important lessons that have helped me to become a successful teacher.