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Ethnographic Observation For my volunteer experience I was asked to pass out candy to children in I-Iazelwood. Upon arriving in the area, or park as it was called to us, we were ushered inside a small building to begin preparations. We met with some of the heads of the department and discussed what we would be doing, where we were from and Hazelwood in generalt Soon enough, more people began arriving and it began to be obvious that Hazelwood is indeed diverse, We met some interesting people, some people who were extremely nice and some who you could definitely tell have some troubles, We began by bringing all the candy bags out to the gazebo, where older women and men were setting up for the younger children.
We were told to pass out candy, chips and pretzels to the older children, so we began to set up behind a counteri We met five boys around high school age when we settled in.
They were curious about us and asked often where we were from and what we were doing in Hazelwoodi We told them we were Duquesne students and this was for a project for class. They seemed interested and began talking about schooling in general. One boy (D), the only Caucasian mentioned how he dropped out of high school in 10‘‘1 grade, He said he should be a college freshman but school was too hard and boring for him He did mention he was getting his GED, which was excellent but I did catch myself being surprised that it was the Caucasian who dropped out of school, Meanwhile, the other boys who were all African American stayed in school.
One boy in particular kept scolding D, telling him he should have stayed in school I asked I if he was going to continue with his education and he told me he wanted to go to college, He was embarrassed when I asked him what he wanted to study, but finally he told me he wanted to be a video game programmert I was very impressed with his motivation and understanding that school is important.
We asked him how he liked his current school and he said he was not very fond of it, He said in Hazelwood he was able to get more one»on-one help, where his current school is very different and hard to keep up with, Another boy commented on how their new school expects everyone to have a computer at home, something that many people do not have access to. I was surprised at how easily they opened up to us, and we were not even trying to get an interview out of them. We spent more of our time talking to them than handing out candy, and the boys ate more of it than we passed out sometimes It was definitely interesting to experience, and definitely surprising to me. A lot of my own judgments were proven wrong, and it was a nice change from the usual opinion the media and society gives us of lower-income people Overall, we definitely learned a lot from this experience even with only one visit!
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