Elise Grindstaff-Silverstein

How am I growing in my own awareness of my strengths and weaknesses?

What challenges have I been through?

In what ways have I started new challenges?

In what ways have I developed new skills?

In what ways have I shown perseverance and commitment to my activities?

In what ways have I worked collaboratively?

In what ways have I been engaged in issues with global importance?

What are the ethical or moral implications of what I’m doing and learning?


Working at the football games was a lot of work; but it was also fun. I was able to meet new people, work with adults, and work in a fast-paced atmosphere. I had to think on my feet and multitask to make sure that the customers got the correct food and change and that I received the enough money to cover the order. I was able to use my people skills and my math ability to do what was needed in a timely manner. There were times when it was a little stressful because of the sheer amount of people and the size of the orders, but when I worked with the other volunteers it went smoothly. I wish that this opportunity had been available to me in previous years.

I am considering working with children when I graduate from college so I tried to find volunteer opportunities that would allow me to do so now. My family has donated and participated in fundraising events for Serenity Foster Home since before I was born. One day when we went to drop off some of the donations I asked if they had a need for any volunteers. The lady at the front desk told me that they needed babysitters for their once-monthly support group meetings. When I got there I was a little nervous because there were so many children and so few volunteers. We had to keep an eye on the children and keep them entertained. I learned a lot about the way children interact and how to care for them. The best memory I have of working at Serenity was watching one little boy go from not saying a word to anybody and sitting in the corner to playing with everyone else in a few short months. It was only two hours a month, but it showed me how much little children can overcome if they are given the support that they need.

Last year, the week before finals my chemistry teacher, Ms. Turner approached me and asked if I would tutor one of her other students. The student in question was a girl that I had known since she was in eighth grade and we were close. I jumped at the opportunity to help her and we agreed that I would go over to her house for a few hours the Monday and Tuesday before finals. I worked with her through almost a whole semester of chemistry in a few hours. Her parents were so grateful for the help and insistent that they pay me. I refused because not only was I able to help a friend but it helped me as well. I was so happy for my friend when she got a good grade on her final. This experience helped me realize that I like working with people and that I am a good teacher and leader.

I have known Ms. Dettelbach since I was in first grade and I was really excited when I found out that she was the teacher for TOK. During one of these classes she asked me if I would be willing to help her students get ready for their first essay during Charger Time and I said that I would not mind at all. I spent two days during Charger Time in her class helping students prepare theme statements that would be the topic of their essay. Not only was I able to help other students but I was able to review the process of formulating a theme statement, which I had not done for quite some time. This experience helped me with my communication skills, because I sometimes have difficulty articulating what I am trying to say, and gave me another opportunity to show my leadership skills.

Last year I helped out during two track meets. I worked with some of my fellow classmates moving hurdles. It was not very hard work but it had to be done quickly to prevent any delays in the meet. I have never seen a track meet and this opportunity gave me insight into how hard track really is and how competitive it is. I also got an opportunity to talk to some of my classmates that I had not spoken outside of school for a long time. I doubt my future will require me to know how to move hurdles but it is not impossible.

Service 12/23/2014

I love being a part of Glenkirk’s VBS whenever I get the chance. I get to work with children and watch them have fun while learning. I think my time with Glenkirk has really opened my eyes to how much I enjoy working with children and how good I am with them. This has led to me considering becoming a child psychologist after college. I am not sure how this plan will turn out but it is a definite idea. VBS also allows me to showcase my leadership skills along with my creativity because, as counselors, we have to get involved in all of the activities that the children are participating in.

Creative 12/23/2013

Preparing for something as large as a VBS for over 1000 children or for a new school year is a huge task. I spent 19 hours training on how to care for the children and thinking of fun and creative ways for them to stay occupied and have the best time possible. I spent my time creating posters, and fun traveling games that would keep them safe and in a group while we were traveling from activity to activity. It was great being able to work with children and look at things from their perspective. It allowed me to experience taking care of young children and being in charge of a large group. I have always enjoyed working at VBS and I hope to continue to do so. I also helped Ms. Volpe decorate her new classroom during the summer. It really opened my eyes into how much work teachers put into creating a welcoming learning environment and how much of their own time they put into prepping for the school year

Action 11/27/2012

On September 29th I participated in the Serenity Charity Walk. Ever since I was little I have donated toys and clothes that I had outgrown to Serenity Foster Care in Covina. This facility is a private facility so they receive no help from the government and they are busier than ever. I decided to participate in this walk with my family and the Covina Women’s Club. This walk was a great opportunity for me to spend time with people who support Serenity as well and it gave me a chance to reflect on how lucky I am to be a part of a loving family. I also got to meet some of the children that stayed at Serenity at some point in their life and see how much good the facility did. It was heartwarming to see how many people in the community cared about the amazing work that Serenity does. I was proud to be a part of helping this great cause and I will definitely be participating in more fundraisers for Serenity in the future.

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