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December 15, 2008

A light in the dark

Handcircle_3 It was my second or third time talking to this group of women. Eager to try out some of the interactive teaching techniques I was learning about in my course on teaching adults, I planned an activity called, "In the Dark."  The women were split up into pairs, with one of the pair blindfolded. Then, each "seeing" woman had to guide the "blind" to a physical location within the building and then return.

After a bit of a rough start, the pairs were up and about: some were very cautious, some unsure, and there was a lot of talking and laughing. I could tell no one had any idea why I was making them do this, including the teaching mentors of this group, politely watching from the back of the room.

When all the pairs had returned and all the blindfolds removed, it was time for the debriefing. How did the women, blindfolded and not, feel?  What made those that were blindfolded feel secure? Confident? Unafraid? I drew parallels to mothering and being a guide for our children who are completely dependent and vulnerable on our guidance and nurturing. The topic of the talk was on children's cognitive development and the importance of developing routines for establishing security and safety.

I had come across Crossway Community, a local nonprofit organization providing education and housing to at-risk single mothers, solely by chance. But, after hearing about its mission, its commitment to furthering all families through education, and its innovative approach to empowering at-risk families, I immediately picked up the phone to volunteer. Along with a Family Leadership School to give these women the tools to change their lives (including classes on health, personal finance, education and career development, and family and social development like the one I taught above), Crossway has a Montessori school where community and residential children learn side by side.

I love being part of this organization. The staff are passionate. The teachers are amazing. And everyone is committed to social justice and making the community stronger, one family at a time. And to think I just came across it by chance. Blindfolded.

KC writes at her personal blog, Where's My Cape? This is an original DC Metro Moms Blog post.


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