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Volunteer Profile: Clonlara School

Volunteer Profile:  Clonlara School

Kristyn Buck (in the blue shirt) is a teacher at Clonlara School, a K-12 school in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She mainly teaches sciences and P.E., but she also covers several different classes throughout the year.  For her first trip with Outreach360, she brought Simon (11th grade), Emma (12th grade), Everett (9th grade) and Chandra (Executive Director of Clonlara School) to the Dominican Republic.  At 32, Kristyn coaches and competes in gymnastics and pole vaulting.  She loves growing plants, likes to hike and – most recently – has learned to crochet. She dislikes shoes without socks, snakes, and squeaky brakes.

How did you learn about Outreach360?

A friend of mine came here last year and said it was a “totally you” trip. We talked a couple times about her trip, and I was intrigued by many aspects of the program.

What convinced you to bring a group down for your first trip?

With the flexible structure of our school, commitment of the students and the wonderful feedback from my friend, I really didn’t think twice about not bringing a group. Community service is part of our program and we have been looking for new and exciting ways to provide it, so once I heard about Outreach360, I asked my group and here we are!

What were your concerns prior to coming?  And how were they dealt with?

Personally, I got anxious having to be a guardian of my students and taking them to another country was a bit frightening. During our meetings, their enthusiasm helped me know they were up to the task and were very excited to go.

What was challenging about this experience?

I feel, for my group, knowing and understanding effective lesson planning for a foreign language was our most challenging part. The time and creative thought put into was great to see and be a part of. All in all, they made me proud.

What was a highlight for you this week?

Dancing! I loved it. The instructor was very positive and enthusiastic, which always helps. During the partner dance, I paired with one of my students, and we had a ball!

What, from this experience, will you bring back to the states?

Where do I start?  My hope is that my students share their experience and reflect on how it felt to promote and guide education to others. Going back to the states where water and electricity are wasted often, I hope we all are better at conserving, seeing as we all did it for a week.  I also can see using the 10 principles of the program at our school and in our daily lives.

What would you say to someone who is considering bringing a group of young people to serve with Outreach360?

There is no good reason not to come! I met so many people, and for some it was the first time on a plane, to the ocean, doing community service, teaching others and so much more. There is strength in numbers, and no one seemed to be left out. It’s a program that gets your mind going about how you can help out more, near or far.

The leaders are so positive and helpful, it becomes contagious, and they make you want to be the best you can give.