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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Cupcakes and Juice Boxes

Reflecting on a year of volunteering with ARCH 

Over the past year I have dedicated every Friday afternoon to the adorable and crazy first graders at the afterschool program ARCH. Together, we have laughed while playing freeze tag around the jungle gym, and cried during intense debates of who really made it to base, as the winner is exempt from being “it.” I got involved with ARCH at the beginning of the year as a way to increase my cultural awareness and community involvement through Spanish 303. When I started, I was excited to be able to spend time with the kids, but I never truly understood the implications of this experience until the Friday I spent at ARCH before Easter.  

As I walked past the heavy metal door of Arcadia United Methodist Church, I was quickly and somewhat ferociously greeted by gleeful screams of “Ms. Grace!” accompanied by tight squeezes from the kids. They enthusiastically showed me the Easter eggs they had collected from an earlier egg hunt and the baskets, overflowing with chocolate bunnies and stuffed animals, that had been donated to them by another kind-hearted volunteer group. I had never seen them so excited as their big eyes beamed with light and their toothless smiles grinned extra wide.  

I soon learned that I was going to be joining them for a special Easter party with hot dogs, cupcakes and, my personal favorite, juice boxes. At the table I was sitting at, we had a mini show-and-tell of each child’s new stuffed animal and discussed who had done well on today’s spelling test. The conversation soon shifted to casual elementary jargon as I got the scoop on the best parts of each child’s day and what they had planned for the Easter weekend. 

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I suddenly realized how lucky I was to be eating cupcakes and drinking juice boxes with these children. For the first time I felt like I was not just the girl who came to play every Friday, but rather like I was their friend. As I looked at the frosting-covered faces of these kids, I felt the invisible walls that divide people because of their different backgrounds, races or social classes, crumble.  

These afternoons spent with my favorite little friends have taught me the importance of having patience, the value of a warm hug and that we must constantly be aware of any assumptions or snap judgements we are making. Most importantly, it has taught me that sometimes the greatest way to make a difference in the lives of others is to take the time to talk about their day while enjoying a cupcake and a juice box.  

Written by Grace Ghelken

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