Linda is volunteering as a dance teacher at Adams. This is her third year of volunteering for CASP, after previously volunteering at Jefferson for two years. Linda currently serves as the Service Chair of Sooner Dance Company and brings other volunteers with her from the Company. We asked Linda a few questions about her volunteering experience at CASP, and this is what she said!
What do you do as a volunteer with CASP?
“I try to teach the kids different styles of dance from ballet to hip hop, while making sure that they have fun and let music move their bodies.”
What made you want to initially volunteer with CASP?
“I was introduced to CASP through another volunteer from Sooner Dance Company, who taught dance before me. The first time I came to assist her to see and interact with the kids, I knew that this was what I wanted to spend my time doing.”
What has made you want to return as a volunteer each year?
“It is such a blessing to work with kids and see how much they enjoy dance. Dance has been a big part of my life and the fact that I can introduce such a beautiful art form to the kids and have them be more aware of it is worth continuing.”
Do you have any special stories or memories to share about your volunteering experience?
“After teaching the kids dance technique and moves, we usually play dancing games. What the kids really enjoy is freeze dance where you freeze in the position you are in when the music stops playing. I decided to mix it up a bit and had the kids sit on their bottoms when the music stopped playing with the last person to sit down to be considered out. The first time I ever played this game was at Jefferson Elementary. When the game was over and there was a winner, all the kids that were out got up and ran to the last person standing and gave him/her a huge hug. I had to say that was unexpected and the best feeling I could ever have as a teacher, seeing the kids care so much about one another like a family.”
The Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) at the University of Oklahoma has selected CASP as it’s 2014-2015 Philanthropy!
MGC is an umbrella organization for 10 multicultural fraternity and sorority organizations at OU. Established in 2006, MGC is comprised of Greek organizations that represent American Indian interest, Asian interest, Latino interest, and Multicultural interest groups.
According to Jenny Nuñez, MGC’s current president, MGC serves two basic purposes. First, it provides a way for multicultural Greek organizations to participate in fraternity and sorority life on a grander scale than they would be able to do without a council. Second, MGC promotes multicultural awareness on OU’s campus and in the Norman community. Each MGC fraternity and sorority serves the community through their individual philanthropies. Through this service, MGC brings unity and diversity in a way that other, more mainstream organizations may not be able to do.
When Nuñez started her role as MGC president, she wanted to find a way for MGC to gain even more internal unity through an MGC-wide philanthropy. While there were plenty of nation-wide interests to become involved with, MGC felt that it would be important to serve a local community organization so that MGC members could feel and experience the impact of service.
MGC members were encouraged to nominate local causes, and through a series of votes, CASP was chosen as MGC’s 2014-2015 local philanthropy! Nuñez states that she feels that MGC members felt connected to CASP because it serves children from diverse backgrounds and it has an emphasis on education.
MGC first planned a small-scale event in the Spring of 2014 for MGC to become more acquainted with CASP. MGC members met with CASP staff to learn more about CASP. Nuñez says that this event was important because it helped make the mission and vision of CASP more of a reality for MGC members.
The second event that MGC held was a two part event. First, during the week of September 15-19, MGC held a book drive on OU’s campus to benefit CASP. Together they raised more than 300 books!
Secondly, MGC hosted an event on Thursday, September 25th, called Fall into Fall at Wilson Elementary, where CASP hosts one of it’s After School Sites. MGC wanted the event to help students experience how literacy can be part of the fun and games of everyday life. MGC facilitated a spelling bee, literacy relays, crafts, face painting and more. There was also a book walk where students won books collected during MGC’s book drive. Additionally, there was a “stroll corner” where MGC members taught elementary students dances and steps from some of their organizations’ dance routines.
Learn more about MGC HERE
See the fun that MGC and students at Wilson Elementary had at Fall into Fall!
Earth Rebirth, a local non-profit organization that seeks “to bridge the gap between economic and environmental problems” is working with CASP in it’s Garden Your Own Growth Program.
Garden Your Own Growth is one of four programs run by Earth Rebirth and it’s mission is to “work with communities to educate and encourage the necessary skills to grow, maintain and harvest organic food for consumption using the most effective gardening techniques.”
Led by Stan Khrapak, Earth Rebirth interns are putting this mission into practice by teaching CASP kids at Reagan the ins and outs of growing a garden. This week marks the 4th week of organic planting and teaching at Reagan and the kids are having blast learning just how fun gardening can be. Thank you to Earth Rebirth for teaching our CASP kids this awesome skill!
Below is a before and after picture of the project! The top picture shows the garden area before Earth Rebirth started the program. On bottom is the garden from week three. The students are planting Carrots, Kale, Lettuce, and Spinach. You can see the pea plants already growing from the planting Earth Rebirth did in week two.
Below is a picture from week two. The Earth Rebirth crew is installing the irrigation system! The students excitedgly work in the garden and transplant their pea plants from pots into the soil.
Below, the students are busy planting fall crops in week three
Members of the Earth Rebirth gardening crew assist CASP kids with seed spacing in the Reagan Garden.
Pea plants are showing remarkable growth in week three. Students are excited to dig furrows and plant more seeds. The students work together to accomplish their goals with the guidance of skilled Earth Rebirth members.
Below, students gather around the garden and get instruction on how to proceed with the planting process. Students engage each Garden Your Own Growth structured lesson with enthusiasm. Garden lessons are designed to be inclusive and experiential.
The Earth Rebirth team finalizes the installation of the irrigation system in week three. CASP leaders can now easily water the garden with a turn of a key.
To learn more about Earth Rebirth, click on the logo below to be taken to their website!
The CASP Girls On The Run participants received their Brooks tennis shoes along with some tasty snacks at their end-of-the-year party! The girls will get to keep their shoes and wear them at the 5k run later this month. We had a very successful first year of Girls On The Run and hope to continue the program next year!