Volunteers help communities thrive, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Kyung Mo Kim, NYU double major of Childhood Education and Childhood Special Education, hasn’t let any challenges deter him from making a difference in the lives of students in CIANA’s programs since February 2020.
What’s an important aspect of volunteering for you?
Volunteering means the world to me. It has made me such a happy person and every time that I volunteer it is an absolute joy for me to do so. I really like the aspect of unselfishness and helping others (especially children) succeed both in the classroom as well as in life outside of it.
What motivated you to keep volunteering within CIANA?
I decided to extend my roles in the SONYC Program because of my positive experience in the Elementary School Program! I loved working with the elementary school students, all of whom were extremely bright, engaging, and willing to work hard at their homework. As a Childhood Ed/Childhood Special Ed Major, I wanted additional experience working with different age groups, particularly the middle school age groups.
SONYC turned out to be a perfect fit for me as well, as now I teach Sports, Chess and the Korean Language to an exceptionally bright group of middle schoolers! It is a great feeling teaching subjects that I am truly passionate about, on top of homework tutoring.
The positions I have held at CIANA include: Elementary School Tutor, SONYC Tutor, Summer Sports Program Founder, Summer Chess Program Founder, SONYC Sports Teacher and SONYC Korean Language Program Founder.
What has the online transition been like as a mentor?
The online transition has been quite excellent. The chat function on Google Meet allows my students to have a voice in their learning and to participate when they don’t feel like sharing vocally. I have loved the chat function in my classes at NYU as well, as it is difficult to share my thoughts out loud in a big lecture. The online space can also be less daunting for some students, and they may feel more comfortable participating compared to an in-person setting. I personally feel less self-conscious participating in my Zoom classes, as everyone is in a little box, and that’s not so scary.
What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome as a volunteer throughout the pandemic?
Honestly speaking, every minute working with my students has been an absolute joy for me, so it’s hard for me to think of any negatives.
But, the only thing that comes to mind is not being able to see my students in person and actually participate in sports, like we did in January. That January session where I taught everybody how to throw and catch a football is a memory I will never forget. Even the parents joined in to play catch, which was awesome!
Did you learn any valuable lessons as a mentor that you’ll carry on with you?
Every moment that I have spent here at CIANA will guide me well through my journey as an educator. I am still interested in the field of education even if I do transfer, as it makes me so happy to teach. That joy that I see when a student finally figures out the answer to a problem all by themselves is indescribable. I suppose volunteering is a bit selfish in a way, as it makes me so happy!
Has there been anything about this volunteer work that is particularly memorable or positive?
Whenever I see my students really interested in a topic and they are participating a lot, this makes me exceptionally proud and happy. My students have really enjoyed the tennis lessons, football, Intro to Chess, and anything that was interactive. I have successfully integrated Jamboard and Padlet into my lesson plans, and everyone seems to enjoy this.
Thank you so much Kyung Mo Kim for volunteering in all the roles that you have at CIANA to make a difference in the lives of all the kids here, and in the future, as you pursue your passions!