RIKO KANAIDA
NOVEMBER 2010
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My experience as a Baby Ballet teaching assistant.

We are fortunate indeed. We get education and food every day, but we want more. There’s always that new iPod, new phone, more clothes… the list just never ends.

However, there are people out there literally dying of hunger and with no roofs over their heads. And did you know, there are 113 million children in the world who cannot even afford to attend primary school? 

One example is the children in Cebu, Philippines. There, parents are required to pay for uniforms and the food served in school. If they do not do so, the children will not be allowed to attend classes. As many parents in Cebu cannot afford to do so, their children have no choice but to stay at home and work every day for little money. My English teacher told me that she goes there every year to sponsor the children there and a mere $43 can get a child uniforms, education, and decent meals for a whole year! This was something I wanted to contribute to, even just a little.

The opportunity came in school this year in a form of a project called the Service Learning Action Plan. Basically, we needed to do something to help people, animals, or the environment in any kind of way. And I wanted to raise money to provide children a fair chance at receiving education.

Therefore, I volunteered to be a baby ballet teaching assistant in Cheng Ballet Academy. It was a wonderful chance to help the adorable little girls and get paid for it at the same time.

I have assisted in one whole semester now and experienced so much! Teaching young children is challenging as it is hard for little ones to stay focused for 45 minutes. Some girls are very quiet and calm; while others are energetic and noisy. Through this, I have come to respect all mothers who take care of little girls and boys 24/7.

This experience has been an amazing one, and if I have another chance, I would really love to do it again. I highly encourage anyone to teach or assist classes like I did.

I sincerely hope that my monetary contribution will provide a long-lasting impact, as every single year of education received increases a child's salary as an adult by an average of 10%. And I hope that the extra 10% will in turn, allow future generations to be able to go to school too.

A BIG thank you to Mr Cheng and Mrs Yaling for giving me this opportunity to work at the academy! Thank you as well to baby ballet teacher, Ms. Tan for giving me pointers when I felt lost (I hope I was indeed able to help you, and not get in the way).

To all our future ballerinas and their parents, thank you so much! I have really enjoyed being with you every Saturday- you all made my weekends amazing!