Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Above&Beyond Day 1: The Mystery of the Missing Children

The clock showed 11:00 AM. The back conference room of the Ferguson Library was ready to receive parents. The outdoor activity area was set to welcome children via icebreaker. Mr. G (apparently at the Education Exchange Corps, we all go by an initial when we are teaching) sat at the front of the library with stacks of registration papers at the ready. We had construction paper and folders and pens and snacks and juice and plans.

But no kids.

No parents coming in to ask questions. No one lined up on the sidewalk or in the parking lot waiting. No one on their way to the program.

We still gave our volunteers an orientation. We talked about the program and protocols, history and purposes, what we hoped they'd be doing that day.

But still no kids.

The minutes passed by. I checked in on Mr. G at 11:30 to find that, although no kids had arrived, their spirit somehow made it onto the back of some of the registration forms.

I spoke with the trickle of kids who were coming in and out of the library, and my conversations were initially accompanied by stern looks from parents. But when I explained the program we were running, the parents were thrilled. Excited parents, but no children? The Mystery of the Missing Children was solved! The word had not gotten out.

So we printed a bunch of fliers and took to the streets of Ferguson. We knocked on doors. That didn't work too well.

We went into businesses. That worked better.

We stopped kids on the street. That was great. I spoke with one high school freshman who was actually on his way to the library. He took several fliers and plans to come with his friends next week. He writes poetry in his head, he told me, and he wants to go to college to be a writer.

We stopped at a custard shop. That was FANTASTIC! There were two kids hanging out in a tree outside, making fun comments to those passing by. I gave them fliers too. One of them wants to be a lawyer because "they make lots of money." His backup plan is to become an engineer.

We ended the day where we started, at the library, still without kids. But the mystery was solved, and the culprit - lack of awareness - was laid to rest. And the custard was so good!

Until next week.

Elad Gross
President and CEO
Education Exchange Corps

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