Our honoree for October is a corps member whose laid back attitude and fun personality have endeared him to his school community in the few short months he’s worked at East Midvale. Kevin Theall jumped into this school year wholeheartedly, and the impact he’s had on his students goes beyond just playing games. He’s built strong, healthy, positive relationships at every level, and his innovative approach to kindergarten recess, especially, has been amazing to watch. To learn more about Coach Kev in his own words, keep reading.
I grew up in Dallas Texas and first started volunteering with schools while attending Bishop Lynch High School. I served as a kindergarden teacher’s aide at the neighboring Truett Elementary school, but I credit my passion for working with kids to my younger sister Anjolie who was adopted when I was 11 years old. Growing up, me my other siblings and I played a huge role in raising Anjolie, and all three of us older kids now work in child care. For a time we all worked at the same day-care / gymnastics camp,”The Little Gym,” in Dallas.
When I found Playworks it seemed like a dream job. And the time I have spent here has truly lived up to my expectation. I cannot think of any other job where I have the opportunity to impact every student at the school in such a profound and fun way.
One specific change I have implemented since being at my school is a more organized kindergarten recess. At East Midvale there are five kindergarten classes, and when left on their own outside, it’s chaotic: fighting over the playground equipment and wrestling on the grass. So now fourth grade volunteers come out and partner up to lead organized activities for the kindergarteners like “Night at the Museum,” “Sharks and Minnows,” and “Bandaid Tag.” Each class has one day out of the week on the playground with two fourth grade volunteers which has improved recess dramatically.
This recess, and the impact I make on the students at East Midvale is my favorite thing about being an Americorps Member.