Before I delve into my incredible experiences at PTM over the course of this summer, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Andrew Looney and I will be a senior at Franklin Road Academy. I do well in school and play football, hockey, soccer, bowling, and last but not least church basketball. To go on ahead and answer the question that everyone asks when you introduce yourself as a rising senior—I still do not know where I want to go to college except that it has to be outside the state of Tennessee.
I learned at the end of April that I would be interning at PTM for six weeks in the summer. I received this opportunity thanks to the Turner Fellowship sponsored by the Cal Turner Family Foundation. To be perfectly honest, I did not know what to expect and even felt that PTM probably is not the best fit for me. I had heard from the former Turner Fellows that at PTM not only did you play with kids, but you also teach them math, science, and reading. Personally I am not well equipped to teach younger kids, but I quickly learned that the work I would be doing at PTM was much more than that.
Before I even started working my regular assignment, Summer Salt—I missed the first week due to a mission trip to Honduras—Chan thought it would be a good transition for me to work two days with non-regular programming. Those two days dissolved my concerns mentioned above. I had a lot of fun; however, I was still nervous about missing the first week of Summer Salt.
Since then I have spent the last five weeks working with the Summer SaLT—servant and leadership training—program which consists of rising fourth through six graders. Summer SaLT occurs at the Hal and Martha Wilson Center, but is separate from the other programming happening at the same time. We typically take field trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some examples include trips to a dairy farm, the law office of Waller Lansden, Cumberland Park, and the Farmers Market. I remember being nervous about my first day at Summer Salt because I was afraid the kids would not be as quickly accepting of me as the ones I had previously met since I would be someone new to them. I was dead wrong, and by the end of the day felt dumb for having those fears. Yes, I do have to teach math, science, and reading, but if you can find a way to make it fun and seem less like school than it is, then the kids enjoy it.
PTM has exposed me to a whole new world. It has been eye opening to drive through the neighborhood and to even watch the way some of the kids interact with each other. I love playing games with the kids, in particular capture the flag, and simply just hanging out with them. Some of the kids I play morning games with, whose names I cannot even remember will often times come and say hi to me. I know that I have made a difference at PTM when kids I played quarterback for one morning are filled with joy upon seeing me if only for one minute each day. I have formed memorable relationships with both the kids and the staff, and because of this I hope to find time to come to after school programming and form new relationships.
You can follow my Turner Fellowship blog at http://turnerfellow-looney.blogspot.com/