Hello, I'm Juniper. I'm a student working with Baylee (The creator of the site you are currently on. We're also friends irl) on this project. We go to the same school and are currently in the same class, working together to help refugees. As teenagers, when we tell people about our project, this is the reaction we usually get; "But you're only teenagers, what can you do to help? What can you do to help refugees?" This is usually my reaction because I am a hot-blooded individual. "A shit-ton, bitch!"
And now I am going to tell you what I am doing to help. I am a writer in the writing group, I am writing an article about my project for EdWeekly. I am also in the Ibarra Elementary group. My group and I go out and work with (mostly) students in the new arrivals program. I go to my classroom, where I help tutor the kids there. The thing that is truly special about this school is how diverse it is. Many of the students in my Kindergarten class don't speak English; lots of the kids in there are refugees, or are the children of refugees. So not only are we tasked with teaching K-5 graders, but none of us speak a common language, so we have to mime what we need them to do, or communicate in some other way that the child understands.
We love each other. They adore us, shouting our names when we enter the room and jumping up and down in their seats. And we are always asking when we can go back there. We go to the teacher (After saying hi to the kids, of course), asking what s/he wants us to do today, who she wants us to help. So we go to our student/s and help them do their spelling, or their math, and sometimes we help them read.
Every single one of these kids have a story. They might have been raised in a war zone, or they could just be traumatized by leaving their home and family in the way they did. So now let me tell you a story. I'm in class, teaching the kid I usually teach how to write sight words in English. But he keeps messing up, trying to write his sentences from right to left instead of left to right. Because our directionality is the opposite of his. Now try to think of a time when you were in school (Or if you are in school now, just ignore that). You know those times when kids got in fights and accidentally knocks down a chair, and the chair hits the hard cement/linoleum floor making a huge "bang". The boy I am teaching SCREAMS. He starts crying and screaming and drops to the floor. It takes me a half hour of consoling the poor kid before he is calm enough to go to get the support he needs from a counselor. That was fairly traumatizing for me (I have a sister the same age as him). My parters in that class were outside helping with recess. But he is past that particular experience.
As I mentioned earlier, I am part of the writing group. One of my friends wrote an article for Unboxed. Another wrote an article for Teens4Refugees (Check them out, it's pretty cool). They are both very good authors, and I need to remind you all that blog posts (Like this one) and actual articles are very different. For example, I have cursed a few times in this post, which I would never do in one of the articles or essays that I have written. We are writing to raise awareness about refugees and teenagers.