Saturday, February 15, 2014

Emily's Service Learning Experience

As part of furthering my education through Regis University, each student is required to complete service learning hours within the community to an underserved population. What better way to spend 8 hours than with children! I volunteered at Morgridge Academy, a school in Denver, that hosts 86 students grades K-8, that carry a chronic medical diagnosis. These students also come from broken homes or live at or below the poverty line. A very underserved population identified here, but what a great group of aspiring children. I started in the kindergarten class and switched back and forth into the1st grade class throughout my day there.
Personal Growth: In a small classroom with 16 children, most of who were sneezing, hacking and coughing due to viral season, I sat in a small person chair, at a small and short table, working on the alphabet with a little girl who's speech is delayed and is very behind in her learning process. While sitting and wondering how I should approach this vague task that I have been given to work with her on her letters, I began to think about her and how working with me must be different for her. I initially overestimated her ability in knowing the alphabet and memorization as I started out with spelling out simple 3 letter words. I would lay a card down with a letter on it, say the letter and she would write the letter on her white board. We eventually spelled out the words "fox", "day", and "she". I would ask her to tell me the letters that she had written down and she would not answer me. I knew then, that this was too hard of a task for her so I had to think quickly, what I could do to boost her confidence. I wanted her to feel like she was accelerating and able to do something correctly. So, I reached way back to the basics and I had her write the entire alphabet down on her white board. I would pick the letters out of the stack of cards, in order, and she would copy them onto her board. I encouraged her each letter until all 26 were accounted for and in the correct order. She then began talking and opening up to me and her teacher commented that "she has never been this interactive with anyone, not even her speech therapist, and this is the most she has heard her talk or write." That made me feel great because I had only been working with her for maybe 30 minutes. This one simple experience taught me patience. I reflected on my own learning experiences and was able to recognize the importance of connecting with a teacher or mentor and how much patience it takes to be able to teach someone. Not everyone has the patience to be a teacher and I realized, now that I am a soon to be new mom, how much patience it takes to make a difference. I was also able to appreciate the education I received and how it shaped me into who I am and the critical thinker that I am today. Education is something to be valued and not taken for granted. Working with these kids, made me appreciate how fortunate I was growing up to have such a great education and how much I want to be able to give the same, or better to my children. Since I have not been in a public school setting in quite sometime, my eyes were opened to the changes in technology that school systems have today. I had lost faith in our public education systems as I was learning about US being so far behind the rest of the world in testing scores. I now have a greater appreciation for public schools, especially the teachers within this system, who go above and beyond because they want to make a difference in the youth of today and change the face of tomorrow.
Experience in future practice: This service learning experience boosted my confidence and opened my eyes in that I can be a great teacher. It showed me that I can connect with people and that they listen to what I have to say. As a nurse, we are constantly introduced to teaching opportunities with our patients and we should really take advantage of those situations. In my practice, teaching is a daily, almost hourly event and I now, feel very confident in that the knowledge I have, I can successfully relay to my patients and if not, I know I can adapt or change strategies to get the information across to them somehow. I learned and came to appreciate an unconditional love from the teachers who strive to make each day count with not only educating children to shape their future, but chronically ill children who's time here may be limited.
Interpretation: Since recently learning about vulnerable populations, children being one of them, and those who are chronically ill, being another, I thought about how these child fall into that category. On the outside, these kids seem happy to be in a safe, warm environment that is adaptable to their learning but on the inside, we know that these kids have a hard home life. Not only do they carry a chronic medical diagnosis, such as life threatening asthma, cystic fibrosis, juvenile diabetes, and sickle cell anemia just to name a few, but they are also at risk for violence and abuse in the home. Coming from, poor broken homes puts these children at risk for neglect, physical abuse, maltreatment, lack of child supervision and psychosocial issues from a parent or other family members. As teachers, I am sure they have special training opportunities to educate them on the warning signs of abuse and what to do if they suspect something happening within the home. The teachers may be the only advocate a child may have and it is important for them to recognize warning signs. The Regis University mission focuses on giving back to the community for the betterment of society. Through education, the hope is that we can shape and set and example for the children today in that they will become good people and give back to society as good people have given back to them. As educators, mentors and nurses, we hope to instill values on children that paying it forward is rewarding and society will benefit from more people giving their time.
Evaluation: Through this experience, I hope that I left that classroom with a little bit of love and I hope I at least made a difference in one young life. Whether it was giving a child a hug, exchanging a smile and friendly "hello" or actually helping that little girl remember how to write at least one letter of the alphabet, giving back to the children was much more rewarding that I could have imagined. I know I got way more out of my experience during the day than the school got out of me. I established relationships with some of the staff who have already asked me to come back when I can and received an appreciation email form one of the teachers who admired how I worked so well with the children. In the future, this school could definitely use more volunteers to offer different bonding experiences for the children with someone new. I  will do my best to be an advocate for that and encourage others to give back to the community because the reward is such a great feeling.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Home away from home

It's been 7 weeks since Jordan has had his surgery. Recently I started to get cabin fever really bad (and I'm sure he has too). The only outing that we do together is go to the store. I mean it's nice to get out of the house for any reason, so the grocery store suited that need, most of the time. I was even looking forward to going to work most days, but it got exhausting being a nurse by day and night. I was complaining that I have not bee out to dinner in so long and I was getting tired of cooking. So when Jordan was finally unlocked out of 90 degrees which then meant he could sit comfortably at a table, he took me out for sushi at one of our favorite restaurants. Saturday night in Cherry Creek's hottest sushi bar is not the place for a couple to sit down and enjoy dinner together. It was so obnoxious in there that we did not even talk to each other. Yet again, I was even more frustrated. We can't catch a break right now. Ughhh, I needed to get away!!!!!

So here I am at the ranch all alone (with my sweet puppy dogs). My parents went to Breckenridge for the weekend with some friends. Its beautiful, quiet and so peaceful. I can actually do what I want to do and not have to worry about anybody but myself. I plan to open a bottle of wine, or several, have a girlfriend come stay with me,watch girlie shows and sleep in! Not that I don't mind taking care of Jordan by any means but a girl needs some time away! This is fantasy land for the next few days, and I plan to enjoy every second of it, then back to reality next week!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


This is long overdue by now. When I started blogging, I told myself I had to stick with it, and of course life got in the way. Sorry.... Since October, I went to College station for a Texas A&M game (which was unlike anything I have ever seen before), Jordan and I traveled to Dallas for Thanksgiving and just two weeks ago, Jordan had major knee surgery. We have been waiting on this to happen for a while now and cant believe it has already come and gone. We have been extremely busy lately and time has flown by. We plan to be at home on Christmas, just the two of us (Jordan is on travel restrictions for a few more weeks and riding in the car is extremely painful for him), so we will postpone our celebration with our families until next week.

My New Year's resolution is to join a gym and work out or swim at least 3-4 times a week. I went to look at The Cherry Creek Athletic club yesterday and loved it! I felt like I was in a resort of some kind and the options were endless. I plan on joining within the next few weeks and then Jordan will join with me once he is able to walk. He plans to work with a rehab trainer at first and then get in shape for his bicycle. I plan to get a one piece suit, a swim cap and goggles and get in shape the water way! Woo-Hoo, I love new beginnings!Life is good, God is great and I have the world to be thankful for!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Swimming Mania

I just need to vent...

Since I only work 3 days a week, I have a lot of time off to spend with Jackson. We call it mommy-doggy time. We have one of two things that he loves to do; go to the park and throw the ball for hours or go swimming at a special indoor dog pool. Today we decided to go swimming. Jackson absolutely loves it. I think he can recognize the road we take to get there now because he starts to whine when we get on the highway. He cannot stand it when we get there and he knows what is about to happen. The girls at the front desk know that I like to pay first when I get inside, instead of when we leave because he tends to be quite a pill when we have to exit the building(which is where my story is going). Gaining control of him is not a task my skinny little arms are good at.

(See how he has his eye on that green toy in her hand. He is about to go crazy.)

He has a history of swimmers tail, which is over exertion and use of his tail. Also very common in labs. It becomes limp and flaccid and he can't use it for about a day. Today I noticed that his tail was showing signs of becoming limp after about 45 minutes of swim. That to me means time to go....So I thought..

I took him outside to go potty one last time and off we were to the car. On my way out the door, a lady who worked there stopped me and said "oh his tail looks loose". I acknowledged her statement, and thought it was amusing that she described it as 'loose'.  I laughed as we were almost out the door, when Jackson turned around and saw a woman coming up behind us. He took off running towards her, my hand still in the loop on the leash, and just like that he had pulled so hard that I fell to the ground. I looked down and the side of my pinky nail was hanging off. How on earth did that even happen? The pain was throbbing and blood was slowly dripping down the side of my hand (sorry if this is graphic) and onto the ground. A girl had to chase him down, step on the leash as he had taken off running through the building like a mad man. I do not know what had gotten into him but oh boy was he in trouble.

As a girl held my dog for me outside the bathroom, another woman helped me heal my wounds and band-aid up my poor nail. Needless to say I was very upset and beyond angry at his little furry butt. Sadly, he had to be escorted out to the car. I thought that only happens to drunk guys at bars??? Ughhh, you would think that 3 months at boot camp would help, but not today!

Monday, October 12, 2009

27 dresses

In August, I was honored to stand up with one of my best friends as she married her prince charming. It was  one of the most beautiful weddings, not to mention days, that I have ever seen. I paid close attention as she planned every precise detail through the months, and even got to participate in some of the planning... cake testing! Since she cannot eat gluten, dairy, or soy, she needed some fresh taste buds to pick out what would be quite the discussion piece for a beautiful reception. Everything from the invitations, to the flowers, to the sparklers that made a tunnel for their grand departure, was chosen with so much perfection and presented in a grand, elaborate way! Needless to say, everyone had a great time, the food was amazing, the music was rockin' and the wine never let up!

The Beautiful bride and her bridesmaids.

Brittany and I enjoying the evening

Cute couple dancing ; )

Not only was Brit's wedding fabulous, but another great friend of mine married her prince in May. So, to Nashville I flew to be apart of her wedding. I have known Jen since 4th grade, so it was special for me to be a part of her wedding, as it will be special for me to have her a part of mine. Once again, another beautiful wedding in a peaceful garden setting. Well, peaceful may be pushing it to say the least. During the 20 minute ceremony, sirens went flying by that set a car alarms off, squawking birds flew overhead, and even an ice cream truck with cute little childhood tunes strolled through the neighborhood. Caught in such a beautiful moment of the couple saying their vows, it was hard to hold back the laughter because of all the loud sounds. It ended up being another wonderful wedding with another beautiful couple.

Eating goldfish and fruit snacks with Jen before the walk down the aisle

Plums in the pink room. I loved these dresses!

Last February (2008) ANOTHER wedding was added to my list. A great friend, who stood right by my side through nursing school, married her Army man, Phil.  A beautiful Boulder wedding, with a romantic ambience and good company, will forever be in my memory. Emily was a beautiful bride!

E squared (Emily and Emily)

 Great friends of mine are getting married in June and October (I will be standing up in both of them). I cannot wait for next summers wedding season. "True love is the souls recognition of its counterpoints in another"- haha
I am truly blessed to have such great friends who think of me as someone they want standing up with them in the most special day of their lives! I can't wait for my special day now... I'm getting so used to being a bridesmaid, it'll be so strange when it will be my special day, all about me... I can't wait!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

First time

I typically like to think that I live a pretty simple life, that tends to be uneventful, but through the cracks, there is a lot that goes on with me that goes unnoticed! So, that is why I am going to start keeping a blog. I like to think of it as a scrapbook of memories, without all the work of actually scrapbooking. Between work, Jordan and my little fuzz ball Jackson, family, friends and life in general, hopefully I can get creative and come up with some entertaining blogs. Thank you to Jordan for making my blog page sweet and pretty, and encouraging me to see the world through words. So for today, I am stuck at work, waiting to watch the Broncos vs. Patriots game, and working my magic healing sick kiddos! More to come! GO BRONCOS!