advocacy final

advocacy final - While working at a summer camp in 2009, I...

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While working at a summer camp in 2009, I was exposed to children very different than those where I come from. These children were more defiant, more outspoken, and have very different priorities. These children are different in attitudes and interests as well as their family and personal life. The children I had in my group were 6 and 7 years old. Many of them were from a one parent family, or a divorced family. Some had fathers in jail, some never knew their father, and some had their father and not their mother in their life. All the children that had one parent also had something else in common. They lacked discipline. These children would come in singing songs that they definitely shouldn’t have heard. They sang these songs like there was nothing wrong with them, because they didn’t feel there was since they were allowed to listen. They quoted movies, such as “Madea Goes to Jail,” which after looking it is only PG- 13 but these kids are six and seven (Randolph, Fieldnote.) These are just two examples of their freedom at home, and what they can easily access. About a month into the summer camp, I decided to get my group involved in the Free Library of Philadelphia’s summer reading challenge. There was a library location about 10 blocks away from us that we checked out books from weekly. In the beginning of the program I thought the hardest thing would be to keep them in order to walk that far, and keep them quiet in the library. I was wrong. These children who should have been reading at their age level, wanted to check out books from the pre-k section of the library. They wanted the books with one sentence such as “the ball is red.” and the rest of the page a picture. At first I believed it was because of laziness and unwillingness to read, but then I realized it wasn’t because they didn’t want to, it was because they couldn’t. The Free Library’s summer reading program consisted of prizes to try and persuade the children to read. They, along with me, thought that if the children knew something was going to be rewarded to them after reaching that point in the “game.” This wasn’t the case. The children still wanted nothing to do with the books. A lot of them just left them in their cubby and said they read them. I came up with a
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way to test them about what they read, since I could easily skim through the books and see if it was right. The children weren’t reading more than the first word; some wouldn’t even do that (Randolph, Fieldnote.) Many of the children, who could read, such as one young boy named Ezra and another girl named Mekai, had both parents equally involved in their lives. The parents were divorced however each remarried and attended meetings at the school and with the camp. Ezra’s father allowed me to interview him. I asked him “What do you think is the most important thing you can do in Ezra’s life?” His response was much different than that of other’s parents. He stated “The most important thing I can do for my son is being there for him. He is a smart child, I am
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advocacy final - While working at a summer camp in 2009, I...

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