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Tom Broekelmann

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International Institute of Metropolitan St. Louis
May 9, 2012

The International Institute is an amazing organization, and I am proud to be able to say that I help. It is an invaluable asset for the refugees it serves, and it plays a significant role in the development of vibrant international community in the south side. Even though I have just started volunteering at the Institute as a teacher's aide, I already feel as though I am a valuable member of the organization. The classroom teacher goes out of his way to make sure that I am an integral part of the daily plan. Whether I am working in the classroom helping students learn about our Constitution, our government, or our geography or giving students practice citizenship interviews or tutoring students one-on-one, the classroom teacher always makes sure that I am keeping busy. I will always remember what it was like seeing a student return to school after passing the citizenship interview. I had given this student a practice interview the week before the actual one. I had worked with him on a one-on-one basis, reviewing all of the questions he struggled with, and when he passed I felt proud--proud to be a part of his success. The workers at the Institute want me to feel welcome. They want to make sure that I feel like my time is valued and not wasted. Most importantly, though, for three hours every week they provide me with the opportunity to help refugees work towards a new life, and that is all that I really want out of volunteering and what I think volunteering is all about.

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A lot

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Very Well

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