For kids, learning doesn’t get much more fun than making ooey gooey slime. One Friday afternoon in April, volunteers from ORIX USA helped about 20 third graders at Jubilee Park, a program supported by Dallas Afterschool, find the recipe for success through a messy but fun science project. ORIX USA employees Valen Chavez, Dessy Ethakkan, Edgar Flores-Morales, Laura Granado and Cle Smith used Dallas Afterschool Wonder Kits to help kids make Gak, a kid-safe, slime-like polymer, and serve up a lesson in teamwork to help students gain confidence.
In Dallas County, over 100,000 children ages 5-14 are left alone to care for themselves between the hours of 3 and 6pm, a group that would fill AT&T Stadium beyond capacity. Dallas Afterschool works to improve two major obstacles facing these students, access and quality. The organization is currently working with afterschool staff members at 133 sites throughout Dallas. Dallas Afterschool introduced its Wonder Kits in 2012 after receiving feedback from partners about the challenges of implementing larger curriculum in an afterschool setting. These kits provide an easy way for volunteers to jump right into a learning activity with a group of energetic kids.
“Working with corporate volunteers like ORIX allows our children to receive one-on-one attention that helps build their confidence,” said Mallory Nunez, Manager of Program Resources for Dallas Afterschool. “Confident children are more likely to excel academically, socially and emotionally. This experience also helps children understand the benefits of teamwork, an important skill they can use for the rest of their lives.”
The kids and our ORIX team had a blast creating the slimy, sticky polymer using the Wonder Kit, which included borax, school glue and food coloring. Working collaboratively, students mixed these materials to create a chemical reaction that produced a polymer. In addition to the ingredients needed to create the polymer, the Wonder Kits guide provides volunteers with tips on how to talk with the kids about what they are learning as well as how to motivate them while building their confidence.
“When we worked alongside Dallas Afterschool with the kids at Jubilee Park, we felt like we were getting the afternoon off for playtime,” said Laura Granado, Operations Analyst at ORIX USA. “We really enjoyed spending time with the children, and helping them learn about polymers and important teamwork skills. I think it was a pretty great opportunity for them (and us)!”
For more information about Dallas Afterschool and the students and sites they support, click here.