Discovery Space with Alexa Lewis
Last Wednesday I had the opportunity to join Elizabeth Ceres, the volunteer and outreach coordinator, from Discovery Space in an after school event held at the Bellefonte Elementary school. Elizabeth and I met at Discovery Space, right off Allen Street, before heading to Bellefonte. I was nervous at first when I realized would be attending this event alone, without any brothers from APO. Because of what turned out to be a fantastic experience, I would like to share this event with all of you. It was a wonderful service experience and one that I think the fraternity should continue in the future. In the car to Bellefonte, Elizabeth briefed me on the event. Discovery Space is a science museum with interactive exhibits and hands-on programs for children including areas such as science, technology, engineering, and math. Elizabeth told me that Discovery Space launched a collaboration with Bellefonte Elementary this past month after the board made a motion to provide more after school opportunities for the elementary students. Many of these students could not otherwise afford this sort of program, but funding from the district has made activities like Discovery Space a reality for these young students. We got there around 2pm and volunteers were divided into different classrooms. Elizabeth and I worked together with Kindergardeners. For two and half hours we ran different activities with them. We gave them a brief 'lecture' about engineering and what engineers do. We then divided the 26 kindergardeners into groups of 2 where they would work on team work exercises together. Each group got 15 dixicups and were asked to build different things based on a set of simple criteria. Criteria included building the most ascetically appealing structure, the tallest tower and building a structure with their eyes closed. We then talked to the students about air travel and planes. Each student was then given a paper with an outline of making the paper airplane. The students then had the opportunity to test fly their planes. We explained to the students why their paper airplanes were able to fly or why in some cases they might not fly. This was the first event that I did with APO where I was able to work with children. I love that APO offers so many unique and diverse service projects. Last semester, a highlight was working with APO at the animal shelter. This semester, it was definitely getting to work with children who without Discovery Space would have no engaging after school activity to participate in. It was also my first event doing with no other brothers along with me. While I was worried at first, this experience gave me more hands on opportunity and allowed me to interact well with Elizabeth and other people involved in the organization. Other larger services events have the advantage of working alongside your brothers doing something we all share a passion for. It really is great to experience both smaller and larger service projects. This event really proved to me just how diverse all the opportunities in APO really are! - Alexa
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