Longtime AIS parent, Jennifer Terwindt, watched her sons’ volunteering for Horizons and decided to try it for herself …
“It’s an opportunity for an older student to know what mentoring can be."
- Jennifer Terwindt
When Jennifer Terwindt first heard of a six-week summer camp held at AIS, she thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for her teenage children to get involved in volunteering. The Horizons program helps 1st through 6th grade children from Garden Hills Elementary avoid the ‘summer slide’ in academics, learn to swim and to experience inspiring field trips. Jennifer explains, “It’s so important for AIS students to experience volunteering. The younger ones look up at these kids who are five or six years older than they are. It’s mentoring, at different ages and levels. It’s an opportunity for an older student to know what mentoring can be.”
As she learned more about the program and heard about her sons’ experiences, Jennifer realized it would be a great opportunity for her too. The mother of three had just completed a certification from TESOL, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, and was looking for an outlet to get experience with teaching and being around ESOL students. As she helped the Horizons campers with academic programs, she told us of her “first-row seat” to see how much the kids enjoyed their weekly swimming lessons and the “amazing” array of field trips.
“The students from Garden Hills are so cute and so sweet” Terwindt shared. “It’s their summer, and you have to help make it interesting. It’s been a while since I’ve been with younger children, the 7-and 8-year-olds. It’s so refreshing”. Having learned Spanish in high school she revealed that: “The kids were always so impressed when I could pop out a Spanish word. That helps make the connection.”
For the Terwindt family volunteering at Horizons has been a win-win. As Jennifer explained:
“The beauty of Horizons is that it helps both the students and the volunteers, to transport them into each other’s worlds”.