Sarah Gaczewski found her niche at the Neighborhood Art House. It started as her work-study assignment and has turned into so much more. Now she teaches a class to refugee children about environmental awareness.
“To be helping the less fortunate have a better education is awesome. I have no words,” Gaczewski said.
Gaczewski is a freshman early childhood education major working with children from kindergarten to sixth grade.
She plans to make a fish tank for the classroom and have everyone draw and color the fish of Lake Erie. For the older students she made a board game to teach them about environmental problems such as water pollution.
“You’d be very surprised, just the fact that they can change and impact the environment makes them so excited,” Gaczewski said.
They also do small projects out in the community. Currently, they are trying to help get products with microbeads off store shelves and encourage grocery stores to use paper bags instead of plastic.
“We go out and pick up litter. I teach them how it’s bad for the environment and kills the animals. You’d never think kids would like picking up trash, but they love it because they know they are making a difference,” Gaczewski said.
Gaczewski is very thankful for the opportunity to already be in the classroom teaching and gaining experience with all grade levels.
“I actually requested to work at the bookstore, but I was assigned to Bethany Brun in service learning. I was only there about three months and she asked me to teach this class. I love my job,” Gaczewski said.
Gaczewski said she cannot think of a time when she did not want to be in the classroom teaching. From childhood education had always been her passion.
“You know how when you’re younger you always dream of being a teacher, then most kids change their mind and want to be a veterinarian or something? Well, I never switched,” Gaczewski said.
Going out into the community is another thing that Gaczewski loves about her job, despite the troubles Erie winter can bring with her afternoon commute.
“When you love your job, you must go, unless it’s closed. If it’s snowing I’m still there. I’m very dedicated and I love my job,” Gaczewski said.