17-year-old Lauren Vincent drew from her experiences as a YMCA Assistant Group Leader in the School Age Child Care program when she wrote her college admissions essay:
“Becoming a role model and learning how to adapt in the classroom, has helped me grow and adopt a global perspective on change. Every one of these kids are different yet all of them deserve to be just that, kids. Where is the land of opportunity for these children?”
She initially explored the topic of working with children from all different backgrounds: many of whom are from struggling homes, and dealing with social and economic challenges. “My dream for this country is for kids to not be disadvantaged because of their family challenges,” Lauren said.
Lauren focused her presentation on children she interacts with in completely different ways. “I used a metaphor for comparing myself to a chameleon, in how I have adaptability on the job to work with multiple kinds of children, from different backgrounds however they need me,” she said.
Lauren is excited about a new program she started for the Y’s afterschool children. She leads a group of Advanced Placement Spanish students who are part of the Spanish Honor Society at North Andover High School to offer Spanish immersion classes. These are for afterschool children who are fluent in Spanish; for those who speak Spanish at home, but are not fluent; and for those new to the language.
“We have children in the program from Puerto Rican and Dominican backgrounds. We plan activities once a week about culture, life, history, and community in Spanish-speaking countries. Although some of the Y children speak Spanish at home, some are not confident in their Spanish. I don’t want these children to lose their Spanish. They help me learn, too. I’m far from fluent. We have received great feedback from parents,” she said.
When Lauren thinks back to looking for a job in her sophomore year of high school, she’s pleased she joined the Y team. “I learned to really love this job. It feels more fulfilling and rewarding to make a difference in these children’s lives and be a good influence on them,” Lauren said.