Thursday, May 13, 2010
Celebrating an Amazing Volunteer: Ben Pongsanarakul
At the beginning of March, I had received an email from someone who wanted to volunteer with our high school program. Ben was from Boston and was in DC for a semester internship. At the time we were in need of a break dance instructor, Ben Pongsanarakul told me that he had a background in break dancing. This worked out perfectly. I remember Ben's second day, where he was struggling to keep the students' attention and later felt that he bit off more than he could chew. After a brief discussion, I convinced Ben that it takes time to build trust with students and that we should rethink our strategy. The next week, a motivated Ben insured that everyone participated and captured the attention of our students. From there it appeared to a be a "cake walk" for Ben. In no time, he built strong relationships with the students and began volunteering on days when we didn't have break dance class. He assisted me in our teen discussion workshops, completely ran a discussion himself, and participated in our Annual Basketball Tournament. His last day with us was on May 6th as he returned to Boston the next day. On behalf of the AALEAD staff and students, Thank you for your support and great work!