The Adventure: Part 2

by Kshama Girish

After starting my campaign at age 13, I went back this past summer to continue my adventure

This past year I went through the process of fundraising for the first time. It was much different from what I thought it would be because I had to be able to share with others the love and connection I felt with the Mathru Blind School, the connection I felt that made me decide that THIS is the cause I want to help and THIS is the school that made a difference within me.  After spreading the knowledge and love for the school and the kids, people became interested in the cause and soon I was able to raise about 78,000 rupees. Many family and friends read my blog and my websites had over 50 plus shares and many supporters along with the cause. I continued to keep an email connection between the principal to update her about what had been happening. As the fundraising began to close I started thinking and planning how I would like to spend time at the school. At first volunteering around the school seemed like a great plan but then I decided that I wanted to develop a strong bond with the kids since last time I went I was only able to spend a mere couple of hours. I gained my inspiration and idea for how I wanted to help when I was away at the World Championship for FIRST in Chicago. FIRST is a varsity Sport for the Mind, which has may different levels and challenges depending on the age of the child. FRC, which is what I did this year, “it combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of 25 students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.  It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get”1. At the World Championship I met with teams from basically all of the World, and I saw two teams from India. This gave me the idea to open the minds of the kids at the Mathru Blind School to a new concept. This was going to be a big challenge for me because I had to the visually blind to use their other senses in order to work with legos and motors. But this is a challenge I wanted to accept.

My goals for this school year are to invest them into the challenge of FIRST, help them strengthen their other senses, work on teamwork between the kids and strengthen their minds and fingers for brail and future assignments.  I had already been exposed to the study of strengthening other senses by using hands-on materials, so this was a promising project. After traveling for 16 hours and finally getting settled with my family in India I went on June 24, 2015, to the Mathru Blind School. My mom, dad and myself were overjoyed to see Mukta Aunty after 2-3 years. The meeting consisted of giving the raised fundraised money, which had been decided to be used to install a solar water heater at the 2015 completed Mathru School for the Deaf, getting a tour of the updated version of the school, meeting the advisors, and figuring out the time table for the days of teaching. I was excited yet nervous for the upcoming day because that was going to be the first day of teaching.

Date: June 25, 2015

The first day of teaching FIRST it was quite a challenge. I had to overcome hurdles of grabbing attention, one-on-one help, and teaching cooperation with one another. I had not planned much of a lesson for today because today I let them experience the Legos by themselves. I held their hands and taught them how to piece each Lego piece together. Some kids understood how to do it from the start and had already started building long skinny towers, however some kids needed more one-on-one assistant. One of the biggest challenges was trying to do one-on-one with the student because it seemed like almost half the class continuously needed me. I wish I could have been at to places at once but it was difficult running around and helping each individual. The good thing is I got some teachers to help me out throughout the day. After coming home that day I made sure to record my adventure. I then sat down and made a plan for each day,

> Day 1-2: experience with legos

> Day 3-4: build something on your own

> Day 5 teamwork and work on final project/assignment

– 3rd-5th grade build houses

– 6th-7th grade build a “setting”

– 9th-10th grade build moving vehicles (with motors)

> Day 6 (went to the Mathru School for the Multi-Disordered)

-jumped right into working with motors

-taught teachers

1http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc