Casey Gaines is a junior at Auburn University in the early childhood education program. Gaines has had a passion for children all of her life. Recently, she has discovered a few organizations to volunteer with that satisfy her passion as well as further her own goals of being a teacher.
Gaines is currently taking an elementary art class in which the students learn how to show their future students how to make crafts and pieces of art that also teach them a lesson. “I started off loving the class,” says Gaines, “You do not really realize how much you can teach a child with art until it is explained in simple terms to you.” Colors, numbers and shapes are often the subjects of these art lessons.
The elementary art class requires that each student complete five hours of community service at the Lee County Youth Development Center. At first, Gaines was unsure of how well the partnership would go. “I work with the older boys, ones who probably groan when they have to go to art class in school. I was nervous to say the least,” says Gaines. To her surprise, the boys at the development center respond positively to her lessons. “They seem to enjoy and anticipate us coming which is enough to make the planning and the drive worth it,” says Gaines.
The Boys and Girls Club of Auburn has also been graced with Gaines who volunteers her time there weekly. She helps kids with their homework, snack time and playtime. “I carry out all of the activities the Boys and Girls Club asks me to do, but my favorite part is getting to talk with the kids,” says Gaines, “they have so much to tell you about what happened at school, what their brother did, what their dog ate, all they are looking for is an ear that will listen to them. I love being able to be that for them.”
Gaines spends a lot of her time on volunteer work that reflects her love of children and her goal of teaching. She says, “Unlike some volunteer work in which you feel as though you are having to make a sacrifice to do it, I enjoy what I am doing. I don’t even notice I am not getting paid for it.” Gaines has the heart of a teacher.