—College Staff Reflects on What She’s Taught and What She’s Learned at Kid Power
Through the Federal Work Study program (FWS), Kid Power is able to take advantage of the abundance of world class universities here in DC to create mutually beneficial opportunities for both college students and Kid Power youth. Kid Power is proud to partner with American University, George Washington University, Howard University, and Georgetown University through this program, which brings over 100 college students as instructors to Kid Power’s programs each week. These students gain opportunities for personal and professional growth while connecting to the larger DC community, and Kid Power students gain role models, tutors, and perspectives from diverse backgrounds these college students bring.
Recently, we sat down with Katie Lu Clougherty, an undergraduate student at American University, who works with Kid Power as a Site Coordinator at Houston Elementary School. It was Katie’s passion for working with underserved youth that brought her to Kid Power as a Site Associate last spring. She then worked as a Counselor at our Summer Leadership Academy and was recently promoted to lead Site Coordinator at Houston Elementary, our newest program site!
So we caught up with Katie to get her perspective on this unique public-private partnership.
Why did you choose to work with Kid Power for your Federal Work Study job?
I chose to work with Kid Power because I love working with kids and I thought it was the perfect way to fulfill my FWS requirements and give back to the community of DC.
What experiences have had the greatest impact on you in this job?
Every day Kid Power kids show me resilience, strength and compassion. No matter what is going on in their lives' they are willing to put in some effort. Whether it's doing their homework, being kind to another classmate, or creating a good sense of community in our class, they care about what they are doing and they care about each other. Some days are harder than others, but overall the kids teach me something new each day.
Is there any one moment or experience that impacted you most?
This past summer [at the Summer Leadership Academy], I worked with a group of kids who really had a hard time listening and following directions. One day, I remember a young boy really wanted to impress the DCPS teacher, so he sat quietly folding his hands waiting for her to say something, but that something never came. As the class went on, I could see him getting upset. At the end of the class, I saw the teacher go up to him and talk to him about his behavior and how happy she was he was behaving in class. In that moment I had the realization that you don't need to do the big, public applauses, because the small, personal ones count too. Remembering this moment helps me to make sure every child in my class feels special and wanted in our class.
What has surprised you the most about working with Kid Power students?
Kids care about school way more than they will ever show or tell you. Sometimes you feel like you are repeating yourself over and over again. "Do your homework. Please participate! Pay attention to what you are doing." But in reality, they know learning is important and school will help them. Sometimes you just need to look past their tough persona front to really be able to help them succeed.
Has working with Kid Power influenced your future interests or career path?
100%, yes. I have always known I love working with kids, but I always thought that would end and I would have to do something else with my future public health degree. But since I started working with Kid Power, I have realized that there are so many options to combine my love for kids with my passion for public health and social work.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication to Kid Power students, Katie!