Saturday morning I volunteered at the Food Bank in Sioux City where there were about 20 people in total helping out. We were set up in a replica of an assembly line. One person was bringing in crates of food, then half the people were assorting cans and placing them in front of each little box labeled accordingly to what they were, then the other half (which is where I was) placed the cans in the boxes until they reached 20 lbs. and then hauled them over to people who taped the boxes and put them on separate crates behind the labeled boxes. Linda, who was the lady in charge, said that they have always organized their food this way because it is efficient and effective. There was some time in between loads of food, so when we had this time gap we began working on the “Backpack” programs food. We would just open cardboard boxes, take the fruit containers out of the wrapping, and then place them back into the cardboard boxes to be taped again. I am assuming they did this just to make it easier on the schools that the fruit cups were being delivered to.
Linda introduced herself as the head of the organization, but once things got started I did not really notice her. There were several leaders from the Food Bank however, each one in charge of their section. Edgar was in charge of labeling the boxes and making sure each box was well supplied so the operation would never be backed up. He was very nice and a hard working. While we were doing our jobs you could constantly see Edgar running around making sure everything was stocked up and running smoothly; more of a lead by example kind of guy. There was also another lady named Amy who seemed to be more in charge of the Backpack program. She directed us with the steps we were supposed to take and which crates to redo and where to put the finished crates at. She was very kind and had a gentle personality. She would thoroughly explain what was needed to be done and she had a smile on her face the whole time and also spoke in a soft voice. She was very approachable.
Before we started our assembly line of assorting the food, Linda had mentioned that if any of the labeled boxes were running low that we were supposed to let Edgar know so he can label them and get them out as soon as possible. I took on this role. There were several different labels that were running low and nobody was really paying attention to it. So when I noticed this, I made sure to keep a close eye on the supply of the boxes and made sure to tell Edgar which boxes were needed to be labeled. This helped keep things running smoothly.
I really liked volunteering at the Food Bank because there were so many different people volunteering that day. There were mothers, fathers, students, different ages, and different races of people. It was a fun experience to work side by side with people that you would normally never have the chance to do so. To see so many different backgrounds and personalities coming together to complete one task was a very cool thing to be apart of.
On Wednesday the basketball team and I participated in Into the Streets. We were assigned to the Sergeant Bluff Elementary School where we got split up and spent our morning in different classrooms.
Our tasks for the day included cutting out a lot of laminated materials that the teacher needed to be done, helping the children on the computers, and my favorite, recess! It was actually National Health Day also so we went for a mile long walk with the school kids.
The teacher had great leadership skills. Ms. Ping was not only a great leader for her students, but she also had a student teacher in her classroom that she was setting an example and helping to develop her teaching skills also. You could tell the second graders love Ms. Ping because whenever she spoke, they listened. Whenever she helped them, they lit up with smiles. And Ms. Ping had it in their heads that if they worked hard on their homework they were rewarded with games. Ms. Ping also seemed to be a good leader to her student teacher. She would let Samantha, the student teacher, have the classroom to herself and teach the students. There was a slight mishap with the computers and their plans for that assignment did not goes as scheduled, but they dealt with it calmly and appropriately. After the children left for recess, Ms. Ping praised Samantha for handling the “bump in the road” very well. Ms. Ping also chose her times to help Samantha very well because she did not seemed rude, but rather had perfect timing to step in and help.
I engaged in some leadership behaviors when stepping in to help with the computers. Hanna and I knew what was being done as far as logging into the system so we proceeded to help the students log in and get their learning underway. Also, at recess we helped get the little kids rounded up when it was time to go in. It may seem easy, but when these little kids get to clinging on to you like it is a life or death situation, it can be difficult to get them sat down and lined up.
I felt great about the days experience. It was nice to see Ms. Ping’s leadership skills being applied in a real life situation. She was also really good at remember mine and Hanna’s name. I was also impressed with her genuine interest in us. She was asking us questions about basketball and our majors. I am very happy that we got put in her class and the kids were awesome to be around. At one point in recess, the girls suddenly broke out like a flash mob in this song and dance, which was very catching, and that was one of the coolest things to say. I now have a new song and dance I can impress my own friends and family with, ha!
My visit to the Center this time was really on my own. Thursdays must be their busier days because they had all new workers except for the same guy that had helped me before. When I first walked into the Center they had a lot of customers in the waiting room and it seemed to be a little chaotic so I just grabbed my leash and got out of their hair.
My tasks this week including walking dogs again. My goal for each visit is to be with one dog for a half-hour at a time; I got to see three of them this week. It’s so funny how deceiving these dogs are in their cages compared to how they act once they are out. They seem innocent and scared in their cages, and once they are out they are dragging me along and keep jumping. You cannot blame them though, I’m sure they have been begging for a moment like this all week.
I was mostly on my own today so it was hard to observe any leaderships behaviors at all. I guess, right as I walked in I did notice a lady that did seem to be in charge. She was talking to the customers and explaining how the product works and how to apply the medicine. This was interesting because everyone seemed to pay attention to her and listen when she talked, that is why I am assuming she may be the manager of some sorts.
I did not really engage in any leadership behaviors this week. I took the dogs out on my own and handled them on my own, so I engaged in more responsibility than leadership I would say.
I felt good about the days experience because I like dogs in the first place, so if I can give them a little happiness by taking them on walks or letting them run wild in the outdoor fences, I am more than happy to do so. Everyday is interesting to me because each one of these dogs has their very own personalities and it’s always fun to spend an hour or two around them.