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My #EducatorFirst Volunteer Story: Torri Campbell

My #EducatorFirst Volunteer Story: Torri Campbell

Edmentum’s Volunteer Time Off program offers paid volunteer time to team members to follow their passions and give back to their local communities. Read all about one outstanding team member’s story below!

With Edmentum’s Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program, I chose to spend a couple of my VTO days at a middle school in Lakeville, Minnesota, helping out in a few science classrooms. On the first day, students were working on a rocket launch project. I assisted with helping them create their rockets, helping them use the logic, terms, and specs given by their teachers. The rockets were made using materials donated by the students’ families. It was so interesting to listen to the students collaborate and create what they felt would be the best rocket based on what they had learned about distance, trajectory, power, and force. The teacher assigned the students to teams of three. I mainly helped in the classroom by walking around offering my two cents to the students based on what I had knew they had been taught. I also challenged them to think outside the box with their designs.

On the next day, students attempted their rocket launches. I assisted with the launch sites and encouraged students to record their observations. I asked them to think about what they were seeing, what changes they might make to produce different results, and what factors they thought affected their results (like wind, too much water in the rocket, etc.). What I loved about this volunteer experience is how much these young students were learning and how excited they were to have made progress from day to day with the success (or nonsuccess, in some cases) of their launches.

I loved watching the students work together with their suggestions. I loved the energy coming from every single student. I wound up spending an entire day at the school and observing four total classes because I was so inspired by observing what the students were learning and watching their collaboration in action. The students were sponges during this project; they had smiles plastered on their faces, and they were so energetic. Once they were able to get over the initial thrill of building and launching a rocket, they began working, collaborating, and absorbing the knowledge being taught by their teacher.

I had so much to share with my family when I got home about my time with the students. It inspired similar projects at home with my two sons. My husband is an engineer, and hearing my story inspired him to work on a similar project with our sons. I have spent a lot of time inside of the Lakeville, Minnesota, schools on and off, volunteering for my sons’ elementary classrooms. But, the energy at this age level was different than what I had experienced before. These students, without even realizing, were learning life skills about problem-solving, collaborating, and observing by what they were being taught by this project. While this experience happened a while ago, I’m still inspired now by what I saw in those days that I volunteered. I can’t wait to get out into the classroom and assist more!

Looking to hear more stories of how the Edmentum team gives back to communities? Check out this story roundup of how four team members spent their VTO time!