Assisting at Acorn Academy, coloring in children’s books and making makeshift paper pumpkins are just a few perks of becoming a member of Drew University’s Connect with Kids (CWK).
This student organization is “a club at Drew focused on creating a positive impact on kids in the local Madison area and around the world,” according to the page on The Path. Even though CWK works with the B-MAT program to provide information and experience to those interested in teaching, one can’t deny the lightheartedness of the club.
For example, their upcoming event, “Healing Your Inner Child Day” on April 29 is meant to be a stress-reliever with finals week fast approaching. It features clay sculpting, birdhouse painting and movies for attendees to watch as they unleash their young artists.
Regarding the club’s desire to host more campus-wide events in the future, Secretary and Webmaster Maddie Ortiz (‘24) said their upcoming event is a place for everyone to attend, not just those looking to be teachers.
However, “Healing Your Inner Child Day” was not the original plan. CWK originally scheduled April 29 to be “Take Your Kid to Work Day,” a tradition at Drew where staff bring their children to school for the national day. In years past, CWK members and other interested students volunteered to host activities for the children. Due to low faculty enrollment, the event was changed earlier this week.
President Isla Ubiles (‘24) said she was incredibly disappointed at the last-minute alteration.
“We had so many volunteers, but because that didn’t translate to faculty engagement, we knew we didn’t have a choice, which was really, really heartbreaking,” she said. “It sucked that we had to change ‘Take Your Kid To Work Day,’ because we really had so much student interest, so we wanted to thank everyone who signed up for it with an event to relax before finals start and the year comes to an end.”
Despite not hosting its trademark event, CWK still has a plethora of plans for the upcoming semesters. As a relatively new board, Ubiles, Ortiz, Nicole Sydor (‘25) and Sophie Dixon (‘24) are moving swiftly past the loss of “Take Your Kid to Work Day.” In addition to reintroducing “Cookies and Conversation,” they are hoping to create new traditions for the club.
“I’d love to set up relationships with schools in the Madison area, as well as with organizations like the United Breast Cancer Foundation, which is where we donated our books from our book drive to,” Ubiles said, referencing to the book drive hosted by the Teacher Education department in collaboration with CWK throughout November of 2021.
Ortiz said she wants to incorporate more events pertaining to underclassmen interested in the B-MAT program or recently incorporated education minor. She hopes this will increase the chance of students meeting others with similar interests while promoting engagement in the club.
“I think the pandemic caused social interactions to change, and being a college student during this time, I see it first hand.” Ortiz added, “It sucks.”
Ubiles agrees. In addition to her interest in teaching, she said she joined the club to make connections on campus.
“With COVID, our numbers really dropped, and we didn’t have a lot of student engagement because everything was virtual, so we’ve been trying to bring back Connect with Kids, and I’m so excited to see what we can do next year,” she added.
With their recently-inducted executive board and laundry list of events for the next academic year, CWK hopes to become prominent in the Drew community again.