Aisha Krishnan reintroduces BeAWARE program @ Centro Latino de Salud

Growing up as an only child, sophomore Aisha Krishnan has spent most of her life around adults. This may be the reason she has always had such a strong desire to spend her career working with kids.

Double majoring in pre-medicine and psychology, Krishnan is interested in entering the field of pediatric psychiatry.

Through classmates, she discovered the Office of Service Learning, and with it the opportunity to make a difference in the Columbia community and receive great life experiences and class credit. She decided to take advantage of this opportunity to work with children at Centro Latino de Salud, Educación y Cultura, a community center in Columbia, which aims to provide “services and guidance in navigating the health, education and cultural resources of mid-Missouri.”

Her role at Centro Latino was to reintroduce the BeAWARE program to the children, which, according to Krishnan, was piloted last summer. Every week, she taught mini-lessons on domestic abuse and violence. She led activities, such as asking them to draw pictures, in order to facilitate important conversations with the elementary-aged children.

Because she grew up without siblings, this was an exciting and new experience. She wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the kids and ended up spending the semester learning as much from them as they did from her. “I learned more about little kids, where they come from, their process of thinking and how they interpret the world,” Krishnan explained.

Over the course of the semester, she tested out different methods of teaching while figuring out the balance of power between her and her students, discovering many things that did and didn’t work along the way.

Her volunteer work with Centro Latino not only made a difference to the children she worked closely with, but it was also preparation for her future career and gave her insight to life in a broader context. “When you come in with a plan,” she said, “you can run into obstacles, and learning how to handle those things makes you more prepared for future lessons and can be applied to different situations.”

“As far as Centro Latino goes, I plan on going back,” she said. We hope she does and we can’t wait to see what she does next.