Written by Celina Sanchez
When I first heard about Many Mansions, I was looking to volunteer somewhere afterschool and my other job. I saw an advertisement for Many Mansions on my school website and decided to look more into the organization. I ended up finding a job posting for Children Services. I had always wanted to work with kids in some capacity. I knew I wanted to be in the school system, so I was happy to find a position where I could work with kids and help them with their homework.
I didn’t know a lot about nonprofits or Many Mansions when I first started, and I was surprised to learn just how many different services we provide. Through Adult, Children, and Family Services, as well as workshops and programs like the FOOD Share pantries, Many Mansions is able help residents quite a lot! When I was a coordinator at Hillcrest, I would always get both parents and children coming in and expressing their gratitude for all that we do. I love what Many Mansions does for families, and I know that they appreciate it as well.
Through the programs put on by Children Services, we hope to give resident students the resources and help they need to break the cycle of poverty. We aid resident students academically so that they can do well in school, go to college, and get a good career. While we want them to do well, our main goal is really to get them to the point that they like school so that they are able to succeed and do whatever they want to do later on in life.
We are able to help the resident students and provide them with the resources they need in a way that their schools can not necessarily achieve. The staff at their school often do not know what is going on at home. We, however, are here with them every day, doing activities with them, gaining their trust, and building relationships with them.
If something like Homework Club didn’t exist at Many Mansions, resident students would be placed at a disadvantage. Some of them would get their homework done, but they wouldn’t get the help that they need. For example, I know some kids don’t have computers at home and rely on Homework Club to access a computer. Without this resource, resident students would not be able to do many of their school projects. While they could go to the library, Homework Club is onsite and therefore much more accessible to them. In addition to physical resources, resident students are able to get special one-on-one attention from both staff and volunteers. Sometimes, I even see the older teens helping the younger teens.
There are so many benefits of coming to Homework Club. I’m glad that we are able to run Homework Club for the resident students as I’m not sure where they would be without it. One particular student from Hillcrest comes to mind when I think about the success of Homework Club. When he first started, he was very shy and didn’t really talk to any of the kids. He would come in, put his earphones in, and do his homework. He has since grown a lot and really broken out of his shell. He talks to the other kids and has become a great role model and helper for the younger kids. We are very thankful for him!
I love to see the relationships that staff build with residents. You can tell that they are not just doing their job. Many Mansions is truly a community. I love that I can speak to the families and say “hi” to the residents walking by. I truly believe these relationships make Many Mansions the success that it is. Residents feel safe talking to staff. They know that they can be themselves and are not going to be judged.