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The DREAM Blog

2023 Summer Member Highlight: Zoeie John

Zoeie is a junior at Middlebury college, majoring in Psychology and Education Studies. In her free time, she loves to read, watch TV, generally work with kids, and ice skate! Zoeie has been an SEC for two summers (2022, 2023), and a Mentor Coordinator at the Middlebury Village Mentoring chapter for two academic years (22-23, 23-24)! 

Summer 2023 Wrapped: 

Zoeie served the Elm Street site in Northern Vermont. She served about 40 youth in the Elm Street community during Summer 2023 with a team of 7 Summer Enrichment Coordinators and their site manager. 


What was the highlight of your service?

Going to the beach was a huge highlight for me, the kids really enjoy being in the water and are very interested in learning how to swim. It was a great opportunity to mix fun with learning, and it often turned into a day trip because the kids want to be there for so long! We did that every Friday, and it was their routine to do weekday activities Tuesday-Thursday. The beach trip each week was something that was a great behavioral incentive, and it kept the routine consistent which supported their success in having positive behaviors even further. 

What were the challenges you experienced? 

When we took kids to the Echo Center, they were very excited and with lots of other people around, there was the possibility of some youth running away and creating a game of tag in public, which really isn’t safe. It became a matter of ensuring that we got their attention, grounding them by getting on their level, and setting boundaries by letting them know that it isn’t safe. It was also important for us to collaborate with our mentees’ parents to learn about the strategies they used, and ended up creating behavior plans for the youth who ran and they were pretty effective! 

Are there any notable or special moments you want to share?

We took kids to Winooski Library, which had a play section in the back that they loved! Our group enjoyed playing with the doctor kits and SECs were the patients, it was very engaging for them but it was also just really fun! The kids would check their knee reflexes and use the stethoscope to hear their heartbeats. They managed to work out a system where they could take turns with the kit so there was a rotating group of little doctors at the library! 

How would you describe your DREAM experience in a phrase or a few words?

I would describe it as mutually rewarding - as much as we are there to provide opportunity to the kids, we are also constantly learning so much from them!

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