Just Reach Out To Somoene!
By Rachael Constantine
The most beautiful day of my life happened this past Thursday when my Intro to Early Childhood Education class got to go to an elementary school in Taftville, Connecticut. Being at the school started out dull. We sat around just observing the five through eleven year-old play on the playground. Then after about twenty minutes of being there, the providers of the child care center began a game of capture the flag, and us college kids were allowed to play too!
Our professor told us to pick a buddy so I looked to a group of kids and said, “Who wants to be my buddy?” And one girl bolted forward and reached for my hand. This girl was so beautiful and was so quiet! I was trying to get her pumped by telling her we’re gonna win and she didn’t smile or make eye contact or anything. She would not talk to me at all and so then I asked, “Are you okay?” She nodded. Then I asked, “You’re just shy, huh?” And she nodded more aggressively than before so I put my hand on her back and said, “Its okay. I was shy when I was younger too.” And then she finally smiled, but something gave me the vibe that this child still wasn’t as excited as I wished for her to be.
THE GAME BEGAN!
When they said go she didn’t even flinch where as other kids started sprinting. “C’mon! We gotta play! We gotta score a point!” She said she is “never able to get the flag,” that its “always the boys who score” and that “girls can’t play this kind game.” Righ there I realized that this girl, who was just shy of ten, was already getting the message that boys rule and girls drool. So, I got the mission in my mind to make this girl score a point for our team. My whole life vanished in my mind and I was completely set on making this girl see that girls are just as capable as boys to do anything they want.
My professor came up to us and said, “Get in there!” And I told her I had a strategy. My professor left and I looked at my buddy and said, “All right, here is the deal, we’re gonna get the flag, just start walking.” When we reached the line in the middle that separates the teams she stopped. I said, “Relax. Keep walking like you own the place. Just act all chill like you’re on this team.” So we crossed the line and walked really slowly over to the flag pretending to be disinterested in the game. We got to the hoola hoop where the flag was and I could see she was getting nervous that someone would find out we’re from the other team and put us in the jail. I got on my knees and looked her in the eyes and grabbed her shoulders and said, “Ya ready? This is all you. You’re gonna score, okay?” And she smiled at me like, “Wow, of course I would pick the crazy girl,” and nodded.
Like a flash of lightning I pulled a one eighty on my knees and I grabbed the flag when the guards were distracted and handed it to my buddy and screamed, “RUN!” She started running and I jumped up and I started trailing her so no one could tag her. “Run, Forest, run!” I was yelling, and then she crossed the line back to our side. POINT SCORED.
After she crossed the line she stopped and stared at the flag in her hands in awe. She couldn’t believe she just scored a point and apparently neither could any of the boys who stood there with their jaws dropped. Finally I made a huge scene and began pointing her out, yelling that she scored. All the other kids started to run over to give her high fives, hugs, and pats on the back. They told her great job, you did it, etc. And then this incredibly cute boy who looked to be her age walked over to her and said, “Hey! That was pretty cool.” She said thanks and as he walked away she blushed.
Then me and her decided to guard our flag so we could stand around and talk. The words began pouring out of her mouth. She told me thanks for helping her and that it was so exciting. More she talked the more happy facial expressions she had. It was so heart warming because I know I made this girls day. She became the cool kid at recess and I made a new little friend.
The point of why this was the most beautiful day of my life was because this was the girl playing by herself on the playground, this was the girl who believed she wasn’t as good as boys, this was the girl who was as silent as could be who stood with a pout, and I changed her life. When we left everyone was trying to play with her, she knew she could do anything that the other boys could do, and she was now talking loudly, animated and stood proud with a grin. It was beautiful because I know I taught her that girls are just as awesome as boys and also because it proved to me how reaching out to someone can really make a huge difference in their life.
My goal for you is to look for that kid who seems lonely, who is always quiet, who you think just doesn’t smile enough, and reach out to them. YOUth reaching out can make a huge difference. You could find out that the person you always heard was “weird,” is really your future, life long, best friend, and they were just waiting for someone like you to come along and complete them. And they will complete you in return. Small acts of kindness go a long way. If you’re looking for good karma, a new friend, to save that person who is on the edge, if you’re looking to just be there for someone, reach out. YOUth have a voice. YOUth are more powerful than they want us to know. YOUth should share your awesome personality, your perspectives, your thoughts, yourself, with as many people as you possibly can. When YOUth reach out, people reach back. She reached for me, and I reached for her. YOU(th) CAN DO IT.
My name is Rachael Angelina Constantine. I grew up in Wethersfield, CT, but just recently moved to Uncasville, CT. I’m a freshman at Three Rivers Community College with a major in Early Childhood Education. I am eighteen years young. I live with my Papa Bear and my puppy. Her name is Buddha, she is the love of my life. I like to write, read, and take long car rides with people who like to sing as loud and horribly as I do. My political view is peace, my religious view is love. I wake up. Do what I need to do. Do what I want to do. Say what I’m thankful for. And then rest my head. Oh! And I can say my ABC’s backwards.
PS-Rachael is also an alum of ANYTOWN. In her role as a counselor, she kicks as much ass as possible ensuring that no one is left out. We like her. A lot.