Melannie Mayca, Engaged Citizen Corps member
Hello everyone! My name is Melannie Mayca and I am a freshman double majoring in Health Sciences and Spanish Language and Culture. I hope to move to medical school after I have completed my undergraduate degree and become a doctor in emergency services. This summer, while applying to Drake, I was fortunate enough to be one of the 12 accepted into the Engaged Citizen Corps (ECC) program.
As an Engaged Citizen Corps member, it is our job to be hands-on and gain experiences that will impact the Des Moines community through our non-profit partners. Already, I have been able to be part of some memorable events and activities. I look forward to being part of many more.
Evelyn K. David Center
My partner site is the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families (EKD). At EKD, our goal is to help families and individuals improve their financial position while helping them reach career and life goals. The Center helps individuals and families achieve success. We do this through education, targeting skills training, real work experiences, and connections to employment opportunities.
My role at EKD is small, but it is very important and impactful. I have learned that no matter how small the job, each one is required to keep EKD running. Part of our job as ECC members is to help relieve the load of our non-profit or focus on tasks that they could not focus on if it were for us. I have been tasked with heading the Tutor Heroes homework help program, but I also create guidebooks for clients EKD serves. My site aims to help the underserved population of Des Moines, specifically people of color.
I think of myself as the assistant to the Assistant Director. Joy, my supervisor and the Assistant Director of EKD, has made my experience at the site so much better. Her thoroughness and kind personality have allowed me to adjust to the high priority of the program. Working at EKD has taught me many things. It is very important that work is completed on time because people are relying on the work I complete. I have also learned the importance of communication. It is important to learn how to communicate with those you are working with. If you are going to be late to the site for whatever reason, send your supervisor a text/email. If you have a question, try to catch them, etc. Make use of the time you have with your supervisor because they are busy people.
Tutor Heroes is a great program for students in seventh to twelfth grade. We are dedicated to helping the younger students and generations of Des Moines achieve higher education and success. Our program opens them up to tutors/volunteers from different universities around Des Moines (Grand View University, DMACC, Drake, and Mercy College of Health Sciences) so if they may have any questions about the college route, they feel welcomed to ask.
Working with Tutor Heroes has exposed me to many different scenarios. I have had to come out of my shell and take a position of authority over the students when things got out of hand. I have learned to be patient and more understanding of certain situations. The students I work with come from various backgrounds and I have learned to work with all of them. Relationships need to be formed. Our work only becomes impactful when we get positively involved in the lives of the people we serve. This does not just mean understanding their life story but understanding the struggles they face every day.
Tutor Heroes and EKD have opened me to the concept of “working with what is strong, not wrong.” We find the strengths in ourselves and others and work with that instead of trying to “fix” our problems. This has been especially true when working with my students at Tutor Heroes. Many times, I see them beating themselves up about not understanding their work, but it all comes along with patience and practice. It will get better, you will succeed. As they grow, I grow.
Tutor Heroes has taught me much more than working with students of our younger generations. I have also learned how to manage and recruit volunteers. Upstarting Tutor Heroes was a very difficult task. I have had to send out multiple emails to staff members of the Des Moines Public School district, while also emailing the heads of volunteer activity at universities and colleges. Professionalism is key! If anyone is interested in volunteering with EKD, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Working at EKD and being a member of ECC has shown me how important service is. Showing someone that they are important or that someone cares by simply working with them goes a long way. Be an active member of the community. Remember, no matter how small your role, your participation is important!