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March 10, 2005 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-10

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12B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Michigan D

the capricious life Iwith Adam Burn s

Proyecto Avance: Latino Mentoring Association

W hen I went to Alaska to
take a class at the Univer-
sity of Alaska-Anchorage
a few summers ago, the first thing
I was told was to steer clear of the

moose. Apparently, a few months that makes me listen, it's a death by cream sandwich on my way to class
prior to my arrival, someone had stomping, and I was on orange-level when I saw a moose obstructing my
been stomped to death on campus alert for moose for my entire trip to path. Naturally, I discarded the ice
by an angry moose mother defend- the Last Frontier. cream sandwich, hoping that the
ing her children. If there's anything One day, I was enjoying an ice moose would choose the frozen treat
over my flesh, and ran back to my
dorm room as fast as I could. This
occurred much to the delight of the
other students and the moose, who
were all having a good laugh at my
out-of-state antics. Not only did my
encounter with the moose scare me
into taking the bus to class for the
-- j remainder of my stay, it also made
me more aware of the wildlife that
we have right here at the University
of Michigan. Sure, we don't have
wild moose and bears running under
f the Engineering Arch, but where
usR.AIFORCE else can you get sprayed by a skunk
C ILUAI :on your way to Zingerman's Deli?
Nowhere, of course! Only those in
the Ann Arbor vicinity can enjoy a
walk to Zingerman's.
This past summer, a couple of
skunks moved into the garbage cans
next door, which I thought was just
great, since I hadn't had foul smell-
ing neighbors since I moved out
of Markley Hall. I learned a lot of
amazing information about skunks
during their residence in the gar-
bage cans, like how their black and
white fur warns other animals to
keep away.
But aside from squirrels, the most
important lesson I learned by far,
-ithough, was that skunks are more
likely to unleash their stench if you
throw objects at them - such as
Wiffleballs - a lesson I learned at
.cB} :..o ",:.at. # least three times.
The most popular animal in Ann
Arbor - and the one that would
surely garner the interest of my
friends from Alaska - is the 'wol-
verine. But because the only wol-
verines that are in Ann Arbor are
stuffed and in cases, we are stuck
.. Xwith the squirrel.
The squirrels aren't all that bad
- they even have their own group
on campus called the Squirrel Club,
which was established to educate
the community about the plight of
x:..: ~the squirrels, and we all know that
you haven't officially made it at the
.....}.<............. University until a group has been
S~. established to educate the commu-
nity about your plight.
Everyone says that the squirrels
that live in Ann Arbor are the most

unique squirrels they have ever come
across. This is certainly true. Where
else in the world are squirrels show-
ered with free gifts like they are on
the Diag? This works out not only
for the squirrels, who get free food
all winter instead of having to stock-
pile supplies like normal squirrels,
but also for overzealous members
of student groups, who finally have
someone that can take their candy
without the guilt of pretending they
will attend it's cultural show.
Things don't always go the free
candy way on the Diag for the squir-
rels, though. One time when I was
walking to Mason Hall, I watched a
squirrel pause to open a candy wrap-
per, which was just long enough for a
hawk to swoop down and plunge his
talons into the squirrel's belly full of
Snickers. While I was both shocked
and impressed to see the food chain
at work, the greater lesson was not
lost on me: never accept anything
from people in the Diag, or a hawk
will swoop down from its perch and
impale you.
Even though the moose was fright-
ening and I witnessed a hawk kill,
neither is as terrifying as the most
terrifying animal I have ever encoun-
tered on a college campus: the crow. I
began hating and fearing crows when
all 500,000 started to congregate at a
location near wherever I was at any
given time. Not only would I then
have to navigate between the white
puddles of crow crap on the ground,
I also had to avoid getting hit in the
head with one such puddle. It was
like living through the Battle of Brit-
ain and trying to steer clear of Luft-
waffe bombs.
Not only do you have to look out
for their waste, you have to steer
clear of their carcasses, since they
carry that darn West Nile virus. I
learned quickly that groups of crows
are called murders for a reason.
While crows may try to defecate
on my head and spread disease into
my body, I suppose I have to be a bit
lenient with them. At least they're
not trying to give me anything on
the Diag.
Adam would like to reiterate that
he is an animal lover and is planning
a trip to the Detroit Zoo soon. If you'd
like to join him, he can be reached at

Tutors connect using Spanish

By C.C. Song
Daily Arts Writer
Anyone who walks into the Tap
Room of the Michigan Union on
Monday and Wednesday nights
will immediately notice something
peculiar: Crayons and puzzles are
lying on the tables; some Spanish
books can be found at a corner of
the Tap Room; there are more adults
than usual and they seem to be hav-
ing conversations with students.
PALMA (Proyecto Avance: Latino
Mentoring Association), a Spanish
tutoring group, meets on these days
with recent immigrant families from
Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and
Guatemala and help them learn Eng-
Founded about three years ago by
Stephanie Alvarez, Cristhian Espi-
noza and Solange Munoz, PALMA
has about 100 people working with
them today. PALMA aims to help
the recent immigrants to learn Eng-
lish and assist their children in their
school work.
"I thought it would be a good
experience to interact with people of
Spanish background," said Pushpa
Chalasani, an LSA junior and the
coordinator of PALMA.
"We help the kids with their
homework and make sure they are
keeping up in school since it is often
difficult for their parents to do so
with little English knowledge," said
Tara Gavioli, an LSA junior..
Because of the time they spend in
the tutoring sessions - they devote
their time twice a week to teaching
and learning English, as well as the
different subjects in school - the
tutors and participants become very
familiar with each other.
"A lot of the families we tutor
are related, so we always try
to figure out the complex fam-
ily tree ... and we love to hear all
the kids' gossip - (it) makes tutor-
ing a lot of fun," Gavioli said.
"I decided to get involved because


RC junior Dan Hirschman tutors Pittsville Elementary student Jared Zepeda as part of PALMA.

I've been tutoring in one way or
another since middle school, and
PALMA was a great way to help
the community and use my Span-
ish," said Erin McCamish, an LSA
Gavioli, a Spanish minor, received
an e-mail from the Spanish concen-
trator mailing list and joined in the
winter of 2004 as well.
"I love tutoring with PALMA
because you actually fe'el like
you're helping the community. I
have a great relationship with the
girl I tutor which makes the expe-
rience really enjoyable," Gavioli
While forming bonds with the stu-
dents' families, McCamish also rev-
eled in the experience of watching
her kids progress and learn.
"It can be very hard at
times to keep the kids on track, but
it's worth it when you look back and

see how far they've come with your
help," McCamish added.
To supplement their English,
the material creatively helps kids
do their homework. "Kids can get
bored very, very quickly with plain
black and white math problems,"
McCamish said. -So instead, the
tutors use games and incorporate
the surroundings to make learning
a little more fun and interesting.
Other than tutoring in the Tap
Room, the students also interact
with the families outside of school.
"We celebrate their birthdays and

some Spanish celebrations," sai<
Kate Willens, an RC sophomore.
"We also translate for the parents
when they sign the leases for hous
ing and when they need assistance ii
other aspects," Chalasani said.
Despite the initial language bar
riers, students, children and parent:
alike are learning not only how tc
speak a second language more flu-
ently, but also how to form lasting
"Their English definitely improves
and all the parents are extremely ded-
icated," Chalasani said.

I enjoy the experience of participating
in PALMA immensely because I can
really see the progress my student
makes throughout the year."
- Erin McCamish
LSA sophomore

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