My first day as a volunteer started with all of the senior participants playing a game of Bingo, but my most memorable experience as a volunteer started later that afternoon. I was designated to play a game of Jenga with a group of Spanish-speaking senior participants. The obvious problem is that I do not speak one word of Spanish. I took French in high school, and I barely remember anything from then. Starting with this moment, I began realizing that I learn best when I'm literally thrown into situations that are completely out of my comfort zone.
Although I don't speak Spanish, I tried my best to communicate with the group, and eventually learned that they wanted to play dominoes instead. Even then, I was mostly just watching them play their game together. This was during the afternoon, so the senior participants were going home one-by-one, until it was only me and another participant. Using various hand motions and the limited English that she knew, she invited me to play with her. Being invited to play dominoes with this participant, and watching as she enjoyed my company was the perfect conclusion to my first day.
- Andrew Roselo, Program Coordinator, Fall 2013 – Present