It Takes a (Global) Village (School)
Young faces crowd a cramped classroom. A cacophony of syllables and languages ring through the air. This isn’t a scene from some third world country, though, it’s just a typical day at the Global Village School located in downtown Decatur.
Senior Claire Macon volunteers at the School every Monday from four to six, tutoring the female refugee students in English. She helps the refugees prepare as they gradually assimilate into an American culture.
For Macon, volunteering at the Global Village School allows her to combine her interest of global issues with a chance to change the girls’ lives. “I really want to study International Relations in college, and I eventually want to work in Global Aid with non-profits like Unicef or W.H.O. [World Health Organization]. So volunteering here is definitely a step in that direction.”
Macon is not the only Decatur student that volunteers there. Juniors Savannah Kornder and Talia Meyers and freshman Madeline Henner also tutor there during the week.
Even though English is the second, or even third language, for the refugee students, their hard work allows them to rapidly improve their language skills. “It’s amazing how much these girls value their education. It’s very rare to see students who are motivated to learn, but every single girlthat I’ve met there has been,” Kornder said.
Both Macon and Kornder formed relationships with students they tutored. For Macon,“One of the first girls I tutored was Paw Sey Moo. But she left at the beginning of February, and it was really sad. I miss her a lot.
Kornder added, “One of my favorite students was Eke Hlass. She would always seek me out for help even though she was such a whiz and didn’t need any.”
Even though their relationships with the students were brief, the feelings that came with tutoring were not. “My favorite part about working there is that you always leave feeling so happy. No matter how bad your day has been, or how tired you are, you go there and these girls’ attitudes are so infectious that you can’t help but smile,” Macon said. “They’re really awesome.”