Why Wonder Workshop
My name is Sarah Colburn and I’m a volunteer at the Wonder Workshop. I’m a graduating senior at Kansas State University majoring Family Studies and Human Services. I am from Prairie Village, KS, but currently call Manhattan my home. I’m an avid reader, adventurer, and people-person. I’ve been volunteering at the Wonder Workshop for about 7 months now and have loved my experience.
Here’s my story of getting involved and my experience so far:
Entering into the spring of my junior year I knew I wanted to get more connected with the Manhattan community. I was beginning to really call this place home, but felt out of touch with the local residents of my home. I talked to my advisor about finding somewhere to volunteer soon after this realization. I didn’t know what to expect from volunteering, but knew it would be a good way to give back.
My advisor handed me a list of local organizations that needed volunteers and specifically mentioned the Wonder Workshop. It caught my eye right away as an after school program where I could work closely with kids. As a Family Studies major this was right up my ally and could be considered experience in my field.
After some email exchanges and meeting Richard, the director, and the kids in person, I began volunteering weekly. Monday’s became my Wonder day. I quickly started getting a feel for how things worked and started building relationships with the kids.
Upon starting, I was immediately impressed with how interactive and educational the program is. This after school program wasn’t just another place to leave your kids after school. It is a place to plant your children, where you can be confident that they are growing, learning, and experiencing new things daily. It is all about educating the kids in engaging ways that leave a lasting impression. Activities like building your own flashlight or making your own chalk keep the kids wanting to come back and learn more every day. It is unique in its ability to foster a desire to learn and to stay active in the learning process. It works to inspire engagement with the world around us and challenges us to understand it more deeply.
From a Family Studies lens this is so important because at their developmental stage, children need age appropriate stimulation and challenges. This brings about healthy development cognitively and psychosocially. The interaction with other kids their own age as well as the activities keeps their brains active in multiple ways. Because I know the importance of this, I love volunteering because I want to take part in changing the lives of our youth. Investing in the next generation is so important and meaningful to me because I know how meaningful it is to them. I find that when I arrive at the Wonder Workshop to volunteer I am re-energized and excited about learning. I gain a new appreciation for my education and the chances I’ve had throughout school. I have improved in my ability to connect and relate to people of all ages and backgrounds as well. I love the Wonder Workshop because it not only benefits and serves the children, but it also does that for their volunteers.