Students in Service: Dhara Patel

During my work at America Reads America Counts this month, I feel like the mentors and I are getting closer as a team with a mission of helping our community. We help parents become closer to their children as well as promote literacy by introducing valuable reading techniques they can try at home with their children. We are taking steps to overcome the language barrier in today’s schools.  As a team leader I have the ability to guide our fellow mentors in growing as leaders—ones that foster the growth of others while achieving common goals. We debrief on our experiences each month and try to make the Partners in Print program better and better. Compiling workshop ideas for each month from the mentors and fellow team leaders, we incorporate our community’s needs and wants to make a difference in the elementary schools we visit. The ideas we have gathered are very creative and new, and I am excited to use them for the future.

This month I have come to realize that there are so many things I can do to make Partners in Print (PNP) a success if I can make time to do them. It has been tough to give the program my entire attention due to the stresses of classes and other responsibilities like being a UTA and director of Innoworks—a non-profit organization that prepares for a science camp for underprivileged middle school students.  However, with the right motivation and time management skills, I am sure to achieve my goals.  My goal for this upcoming month is to document all my ideas in an organized fashion. I will make a list of past and future team building ideas/workshops I would like for future PNP team leaders to implement in trainings.  There are so many great ideas that get tossed around but are never done because we simply do not have time this semester. I also hope to schedule times outside of work that the PNP team can just hang out or have fun together.  In addition, during the second month we have seen fewer families visit our workshop as opposed to the first one. This is a trend we expected due to weather, but I want to for the future prevent this from happening and have our numbers grow up until we are finished for the semester. This requires ensuring parents that we will have different techniques each month and reminding them of the next time we will be back.

As director of Innoworks, I am trying my hardest with my numerous other responsibilities to plan meetings regularly and get tasks done on time. We had closing duties to take care of from the camp from August, recruit new members for this year including deputy directors, guide the new members in how the program works, assign tasks to everyone in each of the four committees, make sure tasks are done on time, and in the end ensure the success of the camp.  The committees that the members can join are curriculum, recruitment, public relations, and finance.  In short, we organize the entire camp meaning deciding which viable experiments to do, recruiting children for the camp/making sure they complete the application, letting the community know about our organization, and acquiring the right amount of funding for this non-profit camp.  The directors and deputy directors of this program need to attend a weekly 2 hour skype meeting with the head of several chapters all over the nation to ensure that we are on track. This is quite a bit of responsibility but I feel in the end we make a big difference in the lives of those kids who now want to attend college and focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

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