“Worcester is small”
“Yeah, it is too small to do anything. It is boring.”
“Any plans for the weekend?”
When I first came to Clark, I asked my friends those questions, and their answers were the same. We are in the middle of nowhere. How can Worcester possibly be the second largest city in Massachusetts? I do not know what to do. During the weekends, all I can think of is to stay in my dorm the whole time. As I was bored, I thought of every way to transfer to another area.
Is Worcester that monotonous? Surely, it is not.
Let me tell you how I have come to truly enjoy my weekend. First, I came across the club called AKOG—All Kinds of Girls, that happens to be at Atwood. It was pretty easy to get in, so I signed up to be a mentor just to kill some time with someone. However, my first intention changed as I got to know more about this organization. Our mission is to help middle to high school girls to recognize their strengths, and find ways to express them by having mentors and girls get together for some enjoyable activities. Each Saturday has a theme, such as ‘I have a dream day’, V-day (Valentine Day, Violence Prevention Day), and Science Day.
This is a good way to make connections between ages, and make friends with other mentors on a very fun and relaxing Saturday. I find the activity really helpful when we can stay in the same setting, and hang out with little girls. I feel like a part of a community, and I am doing something to change these girls into better empowered people, listen to their stories and feel happy for their achievements, or be supportive for their bad days. Seeing these girls change every day and become more open to mentors makes my work enjoyable.
And do not worry if you aren’t females. There is something else in store if you want to work with children. Worcester Refugee Assistant Project (WRAP) also needs volunteers on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Together, we are committed to assisting refugees from Burma as well as other Asian countries by providing support, mentoring, and tutoring their kids. On Saturdays, the organization has theme days for the kids. I go there on Mondays to help the kids with their homework. I also go on some Saturdays, and sometimes, they also have plans on Sundays. If you are interested in this project, you can check out the link at http://www.worcesterrefugees.org/about-wrap.html.
In case you are really tired from your weekdays, and would rather relax, you can sign up to go on trips organized by the Outing Club at Clark. You should plan ahead, as the space fills up pretty quickly.
I have come to find Worcester as home as I tried to discover the parts of it. It is not as glorious as Boston with skyscrapers and lights all around the city. Instead, it brings you a peaceful and silent beauty. Keep exploring, and you will find the things you feel you belonged to. A walk around the Worcester Common at the City Center, or at the park near campus are sometimes enough to bring my feelings up.
Overall, I just want to say that if we want to do something and make a meaningful weekend, there are plenty of ways. I hope you find one of these activities interesting to engage with.
*Note from the editor: Anh Mai Nhu is a first year student at Clark University. This is her first blog post for The Things That Matter. Welcome to the crew, Anh!