I'm sure I have talked about the Pearson Centre and the work that I do with these groups of kids a lot. That is simply because I absolutely love what I do! I know when I leave in less than a month, the hardest part will be leaving my kids. The work that I have done with VID-IT and Girls Brigade has created the most memorable moments of my time here in Nottingham. I've put in hundreds of hours at the Pearson Centre but I would not take a single second back; I would probably add more to it if I could!!
Some days were long and some kids know how to get right on my very last nerve but I love every moment I've had with them. There are so many things I've learned while working with the kids that I would never have discovered had I not done so. Such small funny things like calling it 'dobby toilet' instead of 'freeze tag' or 'candy floss' instead of 'cotton candy.' I've learned about their school system and the home lives of these kids.
I know their parents and their bullies. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I've learned their favorite movies and the names of their pets. They have drawn me pictures, told me about their secrets and they never fail to run and hug me whenever we meet. These are no longer just kids to me; they are my kids!
No one needs to tell me how important of a relationship I have had with the Pearson Centre in the last 7 or 8 months. I don't need reassurance of the fact that lives have been changed in this time, but getting recognition definitely does not hurt!!
Last week I got an email saying that I was invited to a volunteer awards ceremony at the University of Nottingham. Of course I was excited about this but I wasn't necessarily expecting anything, maybe a piece of paper with my name on it saying "good job" or "thanks for being awesome." All that really mattered was that they were going to serve sweets afterwards, so of course I was going!!
I did not expect to win an actual award in the highest category!! *Please see exited Branna with a shiny glass award to the right. There were a few different categories of awards, the final of which was "Outstanding Volunteer." There were 14 people nominated for the award and a panel of four people from the university and community of Nottingham chose five out of those fourteen. Yep, I was one of those five!! It was more than I could have asked for and was an amazing way to end my time here in Nottingham!
I am by no means done at the Pearson Centre, but I can feel the end nearing. Next week is the last VID-IT session and the week after is my last Girls Brigade. I will do holiday club the first week of June and then 3 days later I will be on a plane home. I am already tearing up thinking about it! It breaks my heart every time one of my kids asks if I'll be coming back. I want to say yes, and I can't bring myself to say no, but I really have no idea! I might, I want to, but a lot can happen in life.
All I can do is remind myself that in the last 7+ months I have given my all to these kids and the bonds we have made will never truly end. I feel like I have truly left my mark on the Pearson Centre in Beeson! Likewise, the other leaders, the parents, and most importantly the kids have all found a place in my heart.
Shiny award or not, my year has been forever changed because all that I have experienced while getting to know and love my kids. I would have never expected this when I first walked into the Pearson Centre, but I wouldn't have it any other way!