I am thankful
Today was our major day of teaching leadership skills. Each MHC student faciliator taught a 45 minute workshop on communication, elected representation, structure of student government, or motivation. And then they taught them a second time, since the group was split in half to change up the format and create a smaller, more intimate learning environment. It was a long day of being "on" followed by five hours of fun with our Dubai friends.
Witnessing these MHC women in action is amazing....they are articulate, poised, confident, thought provoking, and caring. Clearly their experiences in 3 & 4 years at Mount Holyoke and in work opportunities have shaped them to be confident women, women who will set their goals and be fully capable of achieving them. I am truly honored to be the one who gets to witness Emily teach the fundamentals of democracy in an engaging manner; and watch Molly teach the students to vote using parliamentary procedure; and hear Nicole enhance their communication skills with relevant content and her remarkable public speaking skills; and see Katie create a safe space for typically private students to reveal challenges in their life then realize the personal strenths that help them succeed.
The partipants of this program are engaged and activily participate in EVERY minute of the training. You should see them...bright eyes, leaning in to soak it all up, challenging questions, honest answers, laughing, teasing, appreciating our presence here. I am thankful for this positive experience that is turning out to be better than I ever could have imagined for us. I am thankful for their attentiveness and dedication to this experience.
As for me, I am enjoying my role in giving structure to the program, and 'training the trainers,' not that they need much. Each day is so full they we are always exhausted by the end, yet the students persevere and give their best effort to debrief and prepare for the next day. Chinese yo-yo's and a stuffed animal friend named Marty seem to keep their spirits up in my meetings with them. I am thankful for the chance to use my favorite skills in a fascinating new culture.
I never imagined that the leadership skills I learned throughout my life from camp counseling, student government, residence life, event planning, and in student affairs would have prepared me to lead a group of women across the globe and guide them through a process of empowering women in the middle east. I just never saw it coming...barely realized I was ready for it. I am thankful for the unexpected twists and turns life has in store for us, if we just ride the waves that feel right.
Yes, tonight I am thankful. For my upbringing, my mentors, the challenges, the lessons learned, the long and winding path that we co-create with fate. Tonight I am thankful to be an educator.