Volunteer of the Month: April 2016

Congrats to our April Volunteer of the Month, Maria Delgado! Read our interview with Maria here:

What first brought you to Big Class? 
I went to a Big Class Poetry reading at Maple Street Books last year and really enjoyed myself. Then I found myself looking for a way to get to work with New Orleans youth outside of a school setting and talked to Ashley Teamer about volunteering. 
What keeps you coming back?
Since my first day volunteering I haven't gone much more than a day without thinking about the Big Class kids. They're brilliant, funny, and wonderful
company. 
What are some skills you have that help you out at Big Class?
Not everyone can speak to kids without patronizing them and I'm grateful that the Big Class environment values and encourages realness and sincerity with the Big Classmates. I really enjoy relating to the kids.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced at Big Class?
The biggest challenge is hearing from the kids about the challenges that schools in New Orleans face because of limited resources and the national emphasis on standardized testing. It's apparent the stress that teachers and administrators face and it's very apparent how it affects the kids' daily school experience (and in turn, their home lives).
What are some great projects  you’ve helped with? Tell us the story behind them if you can.
I have gotten to illustrate two young authors' stories at Akili Academy and I spend Monday Afternoons at Open Studio. Raven and Mwende have really made Mondays special. Because the kids seem to have myriad of emotions on Mondays Mwende started calling it "Moody Monday" and giving the kids' writing prompts focused on their feelings at that moment. It's been really cool getting to witness the kids express their inner emotional lives as well as their amazing imaginations. We also started doing group stretching before snack and writing time which has been really useful in all of us getting and staying present. 
What are you up to when you’re not volunteering with us?
When I'm not at Big Class I'm a cook at Pagoda Cafe, read, shop at thrift stores, and play in 2 bands, TV-MA and Special Interest.