By Edita Bardhi
ESU’s 4th annual MLK Day of Service took place on Thursday, Feb. 2 in the University Center.
Hosted by students from the Head Start program, the event ran between the hours of 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
In this time, kids from ages two and five came to the university to receive a college experience.
The kids were first escorted into the lobby of Laurel Residence Hall before being brought to the University Center.
It was there that the kids and the parents were welcomed to the event. They also received an explanation on the day’s schedule.
To help the kids engage in this, students of the Head Start program divided the day between introducing the kids on real-world college life and four different activities for members to take part in,” said Fernando Alcantar, Director of Student Engagement.
“We have three goals, and two apply to the kids and one to the parents. One is to expose them so that they can feel familiar of what college is like,” he stated.
Alcantar continued, “Most of these kids that come families where they are going to be first one to go to college. So the program works that you bring them to college so that you give them an experience. That it is something that is achievable.”
To create an organized event, the program divided kids into groups of 20 kids.
When one group was finished with an activity, they were brought to the next.
Each activity consisted of up to 20 to 25 times of play.
One of the first activities included a reading station in the University Bookstore.
The store devoted an area shaped as a circle for the reading to occur. Store hours ran during regular schedule.
Here the kids gathered around to listen to various stories, most of which were animated.
As an addition to this first activity, cookies and chocolates were free for kids to snack on.
The second activity consisted of a science-related task. ESU’s Chemistry Club monitored kids in Room 206 in the University Center for a fun time with art.
Kids were taught how to make blobs. They also painted and played with glue as part of the activity.
In the third activity, student workers from the Rec Center came down to the University Center. The student workers ran a physical activity for the kids.
Taking place in the E-Center hallway, kids spent their time playing fireball and tag. The Rec Center offered an obstacle course as well.
A social gathering was given as the fourth activity. All kids came to the Commuter Lounge, hosted by a commuter counselor.
Different ESU students and workers dressed up for this activity. Kids saw superheroes Wolverine, Deadpool and Iron Man as they lounged and enjoy the refreshment.
“For the superheroes, we wanted the kids to come in and be like ‘woah.’ We wanted everything. So the running, the story-time, the science we wanted something that they can do. Like, ‘oh look, we can make blob,’” shared Alcantar.
At the time of the activities, grad students arranged two sessions with the parents to educate them on ways to prepare for their kid’s future.
A few things they discussed were on raising money, when to begin applying to universities, and what kind of credit is needed.
As the day went by, more entertainment surrounded the University Center.
“We had to make this a dream catcher,” said Alcantar.
While the activities came to an end, the Head Start program received student volunteers to introduce kids to college registration. Not soon after were tour guides being shown.
The tour guides included individual signs of a dog, a cat and a bear for kids to keep.
At the end of the day, kids and parents were brought back to Laurel Residence Hall for a closing.
“The kids and parents were happily tired,” said Alcantar.
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