As Nicholls State student Colby Mahfouz sat in a classroom listening to Wallace Center director Heather Benoit talking about the Beyond the Bell program a few weeks ago, he knew he wanted to get involved.
After speaking to Benoit and going to check out the center’s summer program for himself, the 22-year-old secondary education major jumped at the opportunity to become an intern at the center.
“I sent in an application after talking with her (Benoit) and luckily I was fortunate enough to get picked,” Mahfouz said.
The summer program, which began June 1 and is being held Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., is geared toward children 5 years and up.
The program builds off another successful one held during the school year called Beyond the Bell. Beyond the Bell sought to assist children and teens with their homework along with providing enrichment activities throughout the week at the center.
Beyond the Bell had an average of 40 children and teens attending the program daily from February through mid-May.
The summer program, which explores different themes each week, has proven just as enriching for Colby as the children thus far.
“I can’t say enough good things about the kids,” said the Bayou Vista native. “I’ve enjoyed helping the children grow, but in turn they’ve helped me to grow as well. It has been an amazing experience and reaffirmed my desire to be a teacher one day.”
According to Benoit, Mahfouz has quickly become an important asset to the center.
“When first meeting Colby, I recognized his passion for kids instantly,” Benoit said. “Interacting with the children comes naturally to him, and the children truly enjoy his company.”
Benoit said having interns and volunteers step up to assist these children is what makes programs like the summer one and Beyond the Bell work.
“Volunteering in the community with the youth is not only rewarding, but life changing. You will learn more about yourself as a person and serve as a mentor to the youth,” she said.
Benoit said she welcomes anyone interested in volunteering their time to this worthwhile program to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Facebook at either facebook.com/WallaceCommunityCenter or facebook.com/beyondthebellraceland for more information.
Posted on Tue, June 23, 2015
by The Lafourche Gazette