As we started out with this project, we had a lot of thoughts in our minds. Will it be easy, will the kids behave, does this really have an impact on the kids. As the project went on we got to know the kids and realize how we could change their behavior. After almost one year of going to see them every week, we could draw some clear conclusions about them, us, and the project as a whole. One of the things that we saw greatest change in was the way the kids saw us. At the beginning they were not interested in hearing what we had to say, or even listen to what we told them to do. But at the end of the project the kids would see us as role models, and although sometimes they wouldn’t listen, they felt that being part of the “lunch buddies” was something they enjoyed. A lot of the kids behavior changed drastically, from screaming in the tables to disobeying their teaches and us, to actually doing everything any adult would tell them. A lot of this project was based upon the relationship between us and the kids. On how as we would come through the door of Boyd and the kids would be standing in line, and as soon as they would recognize one of us they would run towards us and give us hugs, tell us they missed us, and although they were running out of line and disobeying their teachers, it showed how we could actually impact their behavior and outlook on life.
We are working with kids that come for unorthodox families, and some of them might have an issue with being respectful towards other classmates or other type’s of conduct problems. One of the things that we saw the greatest change in was how they would actually listen to us when we told them to be nice to other kids, how whenever we would eat with them they would actually try to finish their food just because we told them so. As well as some of the kids would stop looking at school as something boring, and actually think of it as means to a better life (one of them already want’s to be a chemical engineer!).
The kids created a bond with us, that at the beginning of the project we didn’t think would be as strong as it is now. We care and want the best for these kids and although sometimes we would have to be strict with them, there is also time for fun and games. As the end of the approached, we thought it would be a great idea to take the kids out to the movies as a reward for improving their behavior. Although it was hard to handle them outside of Boyd they still would listen to whatever we said, in the end the trip was very enjoyable.
All in all this project was meant to make a change in the kids, make them happier as well as better of for the future. Although seeing them one to 4 hours every week is not a lot of time, it was all the time we needed for them to actually think differently, improve their conduct, and most importantly reach them on a personal level. In this project one of the most gratifying things was to be able to take them to the movies. This single event meant that their parents trusted us to take care of their child, that the kids felt comfortable enough to go somewhere with us outside of Boyd without their parents, and finally the things the parents told us about their kids when they came to leave and pick their children up from the meeting point. We heard that a lot of the kids actually were behaving better at home, that they would always talk about the lunch buddies and how happy they were to be part of that. A lot of parents actually thanked us for the work we were putting into their child, and we as well thanked them for letting us create a relationship that not only made the kids grow, but also ourselves.
This kind of experience makes you humble, makes you realize that whatever you do transcends to others as your image, and how being a role model can influence someone greatly. All in all this project has reached its end, and a lot of the goals we wanted to reach, such as creating relationships with the kids or improving their conduct were met. This project has made us more mature and aware of how the way we behave reflects on the people we want to help, and we sincerely hope we can, on some level, keep contact with the kids, as well as pass this project on so other people can benefit from this.