Haylee Ellrich reflects on her semester of “Writing with Purpose”:

It’s that end of the year rush! Getting down to the final days of the semester and the last month of the year is always a cause for self-reflection. Remembering back to the first day in Writing with Purpose, I recall feeling both excited and nervous. I wasn’t entirely sure what was expected in a service-learning class or what would come from working with elementary students on writing, but I was excited to find out. Writing with Purpose quickly became on of my favorite classes this semester. Not only did it give me the chance to get out and spend my time in the community, but I also learned so much through working with the children at Horace Mann. Tuesday afternoons became something I looked forward to every week. Regardless of what mood I thought I was in on my way there, I left every week with a smile. Seeing the children get excited each week about the different activities and getting to know each of them and their individual strengths was an inspiration. I heard poems written by a 10 year old that blew any poem I’ve ever written out of the water. I looked forward to the days I was in charge of leading the activity and eagerly tried to think of something everyone could dive into. In class we not only discussed and reflected on our experiences at the various locations [students in Writing With Purpose volunteered at schools at centers across Iowa City and Cedar Rapids], but we studied different methods of teaching and learning creative writing. We bonded as a class both on a personal level and through our common experiences out in our community. Taking Writing with Purpose exposed me to the IYWP, through which I can continue to work with children in the community, despite the reality that the semester has rapidly come to an end.

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Haylee Ellrich gives her attention to a young writer and his story.
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