A collection of stories from our volunteers
Reflections from Nia
I’m so lucky to have volunteered with Horizons the past two summers. When I think about what makes this specific program so unique, the people and teachers are always the first things that come to mind. It is not about the location and the resources, it is about the people in this community who want to make a difference in these kids’ lives.
I am so happy Horizons came here two years ago because it has established a compassionate community that stretches beyond just being a summer program. This is a program that allows every single child to have a chance to reach their true potential, and being able to be a part of that mission in any way is truly something special. I can’t wait for this next summer, to see the kids I have formed lasting bonds with and to meet the new incoming class of kids. Although after this year I will be heading off to college, there is no doubt in my mind that I will return every summer to see these kids I love continue to grow and get my favorite hugs.
William's Life-Changing Experience
Horizons is the most incredible place. Children who are yearning to learn and grow get the chance to do so while still retaining their core personalities. Horizons helps to shape the minds of these children in a way that never forces anyone to be someone they’re not. In addition to helping the children, Horizons has helped volunteers such as myself.
Working with the kids at Horizons has awakened a love for teaching in me. I loved every day trying to figure out how to teach in a fun and enjoyable way. This year, I got to really know the way every kid learned and what did or didn’t work for them. I am so glad I got to work with such incredible people in such an amazing organization because it possibly opened up a new career path that I never would have discovered! In the two years that I have worked at Horizons, I have seen many special aspects, but the two that stand out the most are the dedicated teachers and the nonjudgemental safe space.
The teachers at Horizons care so much about the students, and they develop strong, long-lasting relationships with the kids. From the affectionate smiles to the morning hugs where the children literally run to the teachers, it is obvious the teachers love every child. They also take great care in teaching each student in the way that they learn, not necessarily the way the rest of the class may learn. If an approach to learning isn’t working for a child, the teachers don’t keep trying the same method, they work around it, tailoring the teaching style to the individual. There was one child I worked with who would only do his work in colored pencil, and instead of taking the pencil away and replacing it with a graphite one, we continued to let him do whatever he needed to do to learn.
"Every child should not only have the right to an equal opportunity to shine their light and show their talents to the world, they should also be able to shine in their own unique way."
We work so hard to ensure every student feels comfortable in the classroom and has what their brain needs to succeed. Something I love is the quiet corner where, if a child is having an off day, they can request to go there. It has lego blocks, blankets, and pillows, the perfect place to decompress. They can take however long they need and then rejoin the group when they’re ready. This is so smart because our feelings will often control how we treat others, and by providing a place to get rid of difficult emotions, there is a much smaller probability of someone’s feelings being hurt.
Horizons isn’t just a summer camp. It takes the children who don’t have the same opportunities as more privileged kids and lets them shine and be noticed. Every child should not only have the right to an equal opportunity to shine their light and show their talents to the world, they should also be able to shine in their own unique way. I believe that is exactly what Horizons provides.
Gratitude from Cindy, an adult volunteer from the community
I am utterly grateful for having the opportunity to be so warmly welcomed into the Horizons community. The families and children I have met have made me feel the love that is Horizons. What a gift.
"Horizons is working so hard to support a population that has been left out of the conversation by our nation for far too many years."
I am also honored to have had a chance to organize with the Executive Director and Lead Teacher. Horizons is working so hard to support a population that has been left out of the conversation by our nation for far too many years. Thank you.