Hannah Witty comes to us from Abilene Christian University. As a soon-to-be Elementary Education graduate this December, she hopes to continue on to grad school if she decides, or she will try to go straight into teaching. She first heard about Fortress through her friend Sarah, who was made familiar with our organization through our Volunteer Coordinator Dani Kocur. Hannah has always been interested in working with inner-city youth and plans to work in this area of education after she graduates.
Our 2nd-5th graders are divided up into smaller groups of about 15 or so kids that they stay with throughout the summer and they go to the different centers together. Hannah was blessed this summer with the opportunity to lead one of the wildest group of kids at Fortress. During one activity, her students had to climb the rock wall on our playground while carrying a cup of water, trying not to spill the water. Maliya and Sa'Niya, two spicy seven- and eight-year-old girls, tried to go up the wall at the same time. Between the yelling and rowdiness of racing to the top, the two didn't even have any water in their cup by the time they did get there--almost knocking each other off the whole way up.
Some advice that Hannah would give to a newbie to Fortress is very reminiscent of our intern advice from last week's blog post--Get LOTS of sleep. She advises that you will have a lot more patience for the kids if you have slept enough, as this is an exhausting job for anyone to take on.
Hannah feels God working the strongest at Fortress during worship time every afternoon. This is the way that we wind down at the end of the day, and remember to give it all back to God. She says the kids really get into it, even some of the more rowdy ones who usually goof off at any chance they get. It is really moving, she says, to see everyone in the room sing praises to Him; it's great to see their child-like faith.
The hardest part for Hannah about being an intern is learning our discipline system. Our philosophy, called 'Love and Logic,' is "so different" from what Hannah grew up with. It takes a conscious effort for her to remember to use Love and Logic when disciplining our students. Our guideline, which our interns are extensively trained on, helps keep teachers cohesive and regimented so that students are never left in doubt of who to listen to. It helps students ponder their reactions and become more self-aware about their emotions and emotional responses.