Sunday, February 24, 2013

All New Comers Meet Part I

Two weeks ago, my nephew comes to my place after school to tell me that the new comers indoor meet was going to take place over the weekend. 

It's on a weekend and I'm not sure I will be in town for the event. An uncertainty that makes me sad. I want to stay and coach the little kids from tutoring program on that day. Do not take me wrong, I love my job at the college and love the college athletes too, but the all new comers is a once a year event and already a tradition for our In The Arena kids from Alamosa. Athletically, It's our way to kick of the year. After this meet kids have their jump rope for heart event, mile fun run, Hersey outdoor track and field meet, then In the summer since there is no school and homework, we focus on the Run With Us program.  

That night I went to bed praying to God for me to stay home over the weekend without me having to ask for the weekend off.  
Make story short as I'm about to ask the boss  for me to stay in town, all the sudden  right before I'm about to speak in a very genuine way  Coach Martin gave this I'm sorry look and said " I really think it would be best if you stay home this weekend to supervise the athletes staying home" " Oh my Lord" I think to myself and responded to him 
" Sure, I would Love to do That" 

That night I called and visited parents to encourage them to come and bring their kids. Saturday morning I did my regular routine to go to each house to make sure which kids needed a ride to the meet. As always my sisters Norma and Alicia were ready to help me transport kids to the indoor track. 

When we all arrive there, there is only another family of 5 and there are no signs of a meet. I make a few calls and get no answer. I only have an hour and a half before college practice starts. What to do? 
Well, parents and a couple of spectators became officials, starters, organizers, timers and even racers. 

This is what our non planned schedule of events turned out. 

60 meter dash - mothers
60 meter dash -5 heats 
1 lap Parents 
1 lap Girls 9 to 11
1 lap Boys 9 to 13
1 lap boys and girls under 9 5 heats 
1 lap Relays 
1 mile walk, jog or run (Everyone) 

It was fun to see parents and kids work and ran together. After the mile run all kids got a snack and we called it a day. 

I had three girls that  came with me to the meet so  after it was over, they had the opportunity to come and help me supervised the college practice. Jesi, Carolina, and little Jessica had a blast giving out water to the runners, visiting the pool, basketball gym and athletic training room.  By the time we were done with the tour to the athletic building, I looked at my watch and it's 2:00pm

As much as I want to spend all day with my ITA girls, we ran out of snacks and we all agreed it was time to go home, eat a solid meal,  and tell our parents what a fun morning we had.

Here little Jesi telling us on Monday at the tutoring program all about her experience... 

As for the all new comers meet, it did get cancel and it will happen in the upcoming weeks. Can't wait to write about the all comers meet part II.  Hoping it happens on a weekend I can get off :) 

Sunday, February 10, 2013


As I reflect upon my relationship with in the arena for the past 6 years. I can not stop thinking of all the nice memories and events I have been part of.  My community work and the kids I get to work with mean the world to me. 

See when I was invited to join In the arena, I had so many projects in mind. One of those was  to create a program in which kids felt welcome and secure. A space and time where they could call theirs. 

I'm so happy to say that the after school tutoring program provides that and more to the kids we work with four days a week.  

The tutoring program has become an essential part  of our lives; participants and volunteers alike.  

I look back and it is very touching to see the first generation of kids  we started working with, be tutors and mentors of our little ones. 

Just the other day, Yesenia asked me to explain how to solve a fraction puzzle. I was lost and confused. I did not have a clue of what the assignments was about. Then, I looked up and see Laiza, 7th graders, on the other table. Laiza is well known for her math skills, so I asked for her help. After a few minutes, with a huge smile in her face Laize  goes "I get it Miss! " Then  proceeds to explain to Yesrnia. 

After I see the first program solved, I joined them and the two of them show me how it was done. 

The other day, a first grader was so frustrated  with his homework, because he  had to write a sentence with the word "howl" and he kept telling me it was "haul".  
I hauled my dad's truck.  I kept saying the word meant the cry sound of a wolf. Struggling not only with pronunciation, but meaning and a few tears of frustration coming out of my first grader, I had to ask for a second chance to explain myself. So, I called one of the athletes from Adams State to please read the word to us at least 10 times and explain to us what it meant. A two minute phone conversation saved the day for my first grader and me.  It all worked out and by the end of the homework we were all howling as wolfs.    

I love it when kids come up to me or other volunteers with random questions, like the one about what the nazis really did. After, that intense conversation a movie date is still pending as I promised  the boys we would get together and watch  the movie, Life is Beautiful. 

The community work does not end with the tutoring program. I would say that is where all starts.  We have gone to races, watched movies at my place, gone to the park, ran, walked, and celebrated many holidays together. 

Did I tell you about our Christmas party? Well, it was amazing! Parents got involved and this time instead of pizza, we had an awesome pot luck. Rice, tamales, jello, rice, beans, fruit salad, juice.  After we ate, the kids sang Christmas songs and danced. 

What can I say? I'm very proud of what our after school tutoring program has become. Zillions of thanks to Tierra Nueva apartments for providGing us with the space and to immigrant resource center for providing us with snacks and extra volunteers.
Im so happy to announce that we  are working on  having a new organization join us. If this works out our kids will benefit from  two more programs. The boys council and girls circle.  

Can not tell you the amount of joy and happiness this work has brought to my life. Kids are indeed angels that come and remind us the true meaning of life.  Im in LOVE with my community work. 

Happy Valentines Day!