MHTN Cares: United Way Day of Caring

MHTN team members had the opportunity to visit the Guadalupe School last week. They volunteered to sort uniforms and books, compile reading information and to visit classrooms to share their excitement about architecture.

Each of our participating team member shared a bit about the experience.

The Guadalupe School keeps a cache of replacement uniforms for student use during the day. These are donated by community members. The school had grouped the piles of clothing in large totes, shopping bags and boxes ready for us to sort them by size and type. We sorted them on a strip of folding tables set up along a wall in the space under a set of stairs.
The many different sizes of children’s clothing make no sense to me and two shirts of the “same size” rarely matched in size visually. The highlight of my struggle to sort the clothing was when classes of students would walk up or down the stairs in an (almost) straight line, with full faced smiles, waiting for me to give them a high five. It was a lot of fun.

                                                                                          - Rebecca Weidler

At the Guadalupe School we had the privilege to admire and critique the artwork from 3rd through 6th graders as part of a drawing competition. It was actually quite difficult to have to judge one child's art over another. They all did so well. The basis of the competition was to create a drawing that describes an idea for making a great school. Ideas ranged from planting a garden to being kind to each other. Many talked about not being a bully and not letting others be bullies. There were even a few budding architects in the group who successfully created 3D, aerial, and sectional views of the classrooms and school. One student did a full blown school program proposal complete with a lot of written description and a story board. In the end, we chose the 3 drawings from each grade that showed focused effort and a clear description of their idea. All other students received honorable mention and a positive comment. What wonderful students and ideas and a great school with great teachers who believe in them!

                                                                                          - James Knight

The Level 1 Eye Screening process was an eye-opener for me. The kids were very happy to participate. Some were very vocal and confident while others were quiet and tentative. Even those who clearly need to be fitted for glasses were not ashamed to say, "I can't read that line." They all had big smiles.
I also had an opportunity to give a career presentation about architecture to the sixth-graders. These students were so eager to learn more. They asked some very appropriate questions. Like, "How long does it take to build a building?" or "How many people are involved in the design of a building or in the construction of a building?" It felt good to help them understand that what they learn in school will be beneficial to them throughout their lives.                                             

                                                                                          - Dale Thomas

The experience of talking with the kids from Guadalupe School and helping with the art work poster and clothing sorting was very gratifying.
I have a lot in common with these kids and it makes me happy to see the great number of people that are working to give them the same opportunities as everyone else.
The students were bright, engaged and curious, not just about architecture, but also about the person speaking to them, they showed a great deal of empathy. I felt that I went to give and end up receiving a gift.

                                                                                          - Rui Morais

I had never thought of myself as being qualified to do level 1 vision testing, but that is how my time started at the Guadalupe School. It took about an hour, and we cycled through about 60 kids. Soon after the testing, I was out in the hallway and several of the kids waved at me like I was their best friend. My heart melted, and I am now emotionally attached to the school.

                                                                                          - David Daining

When we arrived at Guadalupe School we were first ushered into a conference room where people from the school and also from United Way were very helpful in explaining to us the needs of the school and students there. On the conference room table where we sat there was art work from many of the children colorfully expressing their views on caring for one another and making the world a better place.
One of the first things I was asked to assist with was to help run preliminary eye exams for the students. The school informed us that oftentimes when children come to the school they have not had an opportunity to have there eyes checked and that this is one of the reasons that a child may fall behind in class. The children entered the library with their classmates and formed two lines. We had them read down the eye exam chart the best that they could. It was fun to see the excitement on the children's faces when they new how well they had done.
We also helped out in the library doing everything from moving books to a new area to preparing folders for parents of new students so that the school is better able to help them. The experience as a whole was most rewarding and I would be glad to help out again!

                                                                                          - Todd Freebairn

Thanks to all of the future architects at the Guadalupe School for letting us visit!