Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tutelage & Twinkies

This happened a week ago, but for posterity, I’d like you all to read this story.

A caveat—nothing is set in stone, these are just proposals, ideas.

Several weeks ago, I’ve been pondering about the role the Education Program plays here at the PNA. Sure, we provide classes, and get neighbors together through a common topic or interest, but is that it? Are we destined to just instruct, instruct, and instruct some more?

A secondary reason I was hired here (correct me if I’m wrong, everyone) is for my experience in event programming and how I want to further my abilities in such a field. Being the Assistant Education Coordinator does provide some sort “event programming”, but on a different medium, a different field.

So, I told Emily one day—“why don’t we do something different? Why don’t we think outside the proverbial box?”

Ok, bad cliché, but you know where we’re heading in this topic.

Emily and I were thinking of creating a “Tutoring Project” for the Education Program. Bringing experts and students together to learn or refine certain skills. Anything from “kung fu” to “preparing for the SATs” to “sustainable living” to “calculus”. I’ll be honest, it’s a grandiose idea, but we needed expert advice to make it more…feasible. Part of the impetus was to give volunteer instructors a chance to contribute their knowledge and skills to the public without the "classroom setting". Also, to bring neighbors together in a smaller, intimate setting. In addition, some topics of education might be too obscure or require one-on-one instruction; thus, teaching such topic in a group setting would be less effective.

Hence, tutoring!

Anyway, we decided to create an imprompteu steering committee/focus group to bounce off our ideas. See what we can do anything realistic with our tutoring program. They consisted of current volunteer instructors and anyone else who showed keen interest to the topic. It was last Monday and the meeting place was set. Room 1 (the “haunted” room, hahaha).

I decided to buy snacks for our steering committee. I just came back from Fred Meyer with a bagful of goodies. I’m cheap and I was hungry, so I ended up buying cheap junk food—chips, cheese dip, and twinkies.

Love twinkies.

Apparently, May 19th is “officially” PNA Twinkie Day, according to Emily (hahaahaha). It’s unprecedented, because she said that no PNA-related meeting involved twinkies. Ever. My boss jokingly says that we should save the leftover twinkies, since they last FOREVER. Well, that’s good, because when the nuclear apocalypse comes (a la Mad Max), and we all don leather, ride motorcycles, and sport Australian accents, we’ll need those everlasting twinkies to help us persevere in that nuclear desert wasteland. Hahahahahah. Just kidding.

It was a good discussion. It was nice to see some of the CTC volunteers show up and give their input. It was also great to see them warm up to this fascinating project. It seemed to me that we might be creating something similar to the PNA’s babysitters’ directory, except it would be a directory of tutors and the topics they offer. It’s a good start. Not all of the kinks have been worked out yet. Still some flaws. Still need to do a formal proposal, I suppose. However, it just might work, after all.

After that meeting, I realized I can create something from scratch within this wonderful organization. As long as I persevere and have the heart to do it, it can become reality. I’m so thankful that people—staff, volunteers, and people in the neighborhood—have shown their support and their belief in this project. So, who knows what will happen next? I hope for the best. Naturally, i'm open to suggestions or comments so as to refine this idea to make it a reality.

“Yes, we can”, I say to myself with a smirk (guess where I got that from?)


“provito in altum”*

* launch forth into the deep

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