Monday, November 25, 2013

Madison House at UVA

At the beginning of this semester I was in the period as a first year where I was desperate to try to find activities that I would find most rewarding to participate in during my time at UVA. I signed up for Madison House without much background knowledge of what to expect. I figured it was something I could try for a semester and if it didn’t work out, no big deal.
Officially, Madison House is an organization that offers a variety of community service opportunities to students at UVA. Volunteers can help in areas ranging from day care and after school tutoring to animals & environment and athletics. 
I had attended countless interest meetings for organizations and groups around grounds and was still unsure of what sorts of things I wanted to pursue while not in class. My first time as a Madison House volunteer was the first experience I had a UVA where I was sure I had found an activity that I wanted to stick with.
I came from a high school where volunteering was a highly important part of the academic community. I was a tutor for multiple honor societies as well as for my school’s writing center. I have enjoyed tutoring in the past not only because it genuinely feels good to help someone, but also because it helps my own communication skills. Since this was an activity I wanted to continue while in college I signed up through Madison House to help with the PLAY: After School Activities program at Jack Jouett Middle School.
I have enjoyed this program most of all because I have been able to work with the same groups of students each time. The environment is very relaxed. The students can choose to work on whatever they wish during their time with the tutors. I have helped students of all different levels with math, science, history and language arts. In addition homework help, volunteers occasionally also participate with students in activities like outdoor basketball. The students are fun to work with and seem to legitimately look forward to working with the tutors.
If tutoring isn’t really your thing that’s totally okay. Madison House offers a variety of outlets for volunteering. I know of other students who have worked at the UVA hospital and in the Adopt-A-Grandparent program, both through Madison House. Signing up and joining a carpool is incredibly easy and worth your time if you want to find a way to volunteer.
Although my time this semester is coming to an end I look forward to signing up again and continuing my time with this organization. 

By: Megan Beissner

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