Looking Back on Side by Side Kids

Meet Amanda and David, two of the many members of the Side By Side Kids staff alumni network! When they each became Crew Leaders at T.A. Brown, neither could have guessed all that God would have in store for them during their time there. Not only did Amanda and David serve countless hours as Crew Leaders, interns, and summer volunteers, but they also began to date each other - and have now been together for almost three years! We asked Amanda and David to recount some of their experiences as SBSK staff:

What roles did you each have at SBSK?

Amanda: I began working as the 3rd grade Crew Leader at T.A. Brown in January of 2014. That summer, I served as a volunteer during SBSK's summer camp and then returned as the 2nd grade Crew Leader in the fall. I stayed with these same kiddos for the whole school year and then had the wonderful opportunity to finish my time at SBSK by working as a summer intern. I finished my time in August of 2015, so in total I worked with SBSK for about a year and a half.

David: I started working as a Crew Leader in the fall of 2013 at T.A. Brown. I was the 4th and 5th grade boys’ teacher for the whole school year. I also volunteered at the SBSK summer camp in 2014.

Where are you now?

Amanda: I am currently a senior at the University of Texas planning to graduate in December 2017 with a degree in bilingual elementary education.

David: Currently, I am a wafer fab technician at Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX. I spend my days working with really, really small electrical circuits!

What is your relationship story?

Amanda: I remember seeing David for the first time during our training before the beginning of my first semester as Crew Leader. Honestly, the only reason I remember him from this day is because he walked into the training super late! We ended up working the same days as Crew Leaders at T.A. Brown, but never talked much. A couple months into the job, I began to notice that he worked really well with his class. One day, I received a message from him asking if I could send him the lesson plans for the day because he lost his. I, of course, sent him the lesson plans and thought nothing of the text. From this moment on, we began to talk more and more until he finally asked me out on a date. On the last day of SBSK summer camp, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Now two and a half years later, here we are…still reminiscing on the days at SBSK camp and how David probably should have been on time to training!

David: The first time I remember seeing Amanda was during training before the spring semester began. Not going to lie, I thought she was pretty cute. I was stoked when I found out that we would be working the same days at the same school. When the semester started, we didn’t talk much. Several weeks passed and I wanted to message her to get to know her, but I was scared it would be awkward. One day I came up with the brilliant idea of messaging her asking if she could send me the lesson plan that I somehow “forgot” (even though it was sitting right in front of me). We began talking more and more, and eventually I finally asked her on a date! Soon afterward I asked her to be my girlfriend during the SBSK summer camp.

What is one of your fondest memories of your time at SBSK?

Amanda: My favorite memory from working at SBSK actually comes from my first semester when I worked with a class of third graders. One week, I had to teach the verse “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his faithful love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34). I decided to try something new with this verse by having the kids sing it to the tune of the song “Counting Stars.” The kids loved it and were able to memorize it very fast! We began to sing this verse almost every day and we even included it in our end of the semester Showcase performance. When I returned to work the next year, they were all still able to sing me the verse! This is my favorite memory because I remember feeling like I had actually taught the kids something which was valuable and had a message that could stick with them forever.

David: My fondest moment from working at SBSK was performing with my students during the end of the year Showcase performance. My co-Crew Leader and I came up with the theme “contagious love,” to show what our class had been learning about the love of Jesus. In the play, we all started out as lifeless humans, but came to life as a giant heart saying #ContagiousLove was passed around. We did this to show how we are filled with life when we are filled with God’s love and that we can help others by sharing His love.

What is the biggest lesson that you took with you from your time at SBSK?

Amanda: I see SBSK as the biggest blessing I could have had during my college years. This job pushed me to pray and learn more about God in order to be a good Crew Leader and helped me keep my eyes on the number one important thing in life and stay away from all the distractions of college life. I was part of a community of other college students that also loved Jesus and kids. My biggest lesson learned is to always be focused on the bigger picture, even during life’s busiest moments. Although at work we needed to practice a long list of routines, help the students with homework, and always work to maintain good discipline, our biggest focus was to share the love of God with the kids. This concept applies to all areas of our lives…God is everywhere we go, always at work, and ready for us to be his advocates!

David: Besides having God show me a new passion I had for kids, the biggest takeaway I have from my time working at SBSK is an enormous respect for teachers. Without this experience, I never would have realized the amount of effort and thought that goes into teaching on a day to day basis. Although it was difficult, it was also very fun and rewarding. Now I always look forward to having teachable moments with friends and family members because I see how valuable sharing knowledge, whether academic or religious, can be!

Want to begin your own story at Side by Side Kids? Sign up now to volunteer or, apply today to #JoinOurCrew!