Life's a Loteria

KnoxCorps Fellow takes new chances in an old town

March 05, 2013

Juliette Campbell teaches at Discovery Depot Children's Muesum
Juliette Campbell teaches a class in Spanish at the Discovery Depot Children's Museum in Galesburg

By Christopher Poore '14

Only a few steps away from the Galesburg train station, a group of homeschoolers are about to set out on a journey of their own via the Discovery Depot, a local children's museum. They won't go anywhere. No one will leave the building or watch trees slowly groove past the smooth plane of a plexiglass window. But in their hands are pieces of cardstock, decorated with pictures, and underneath the illustrations, words in a foreign language: estrella for star, la dama for lady, sol for sun. And in front of the students stands Juliette Campbell, KnoxCorps Fellow and bilingualism incarnate, who knows that learning's more fun when paired with a bingo-like game known south of here as loteria.

Juliette Campbell at the Discovery Depot Children's Museum"It's a very popular game in Mexico and other parts of Latin America," Juliette explained. "Some kids learn better from visuals, so I took that into account."

Juliette knows she's perfectly qualified to teach kids how to play a game of chance since she's taken plenty of chances herself. Last year, already accepted into graduate programs in Spanish and fresh from the steps of Old Main with a degree in Spanish and political science, Campbell decided to stay in Galesburg, a place that many of her fellow grads didn't think twice about leaving. But Campbell had heard about KnoxCorps, a new civic engagement parternship between the College and the Galesburg Community Foundation that puts Knox graduates and students to work with local non-profits.

"When I found out about the fellowship, people said, ‘You should do it, this sounds just like you,'" said Juliette. "I think saying goodbye to Galesburg -- it would have been a tough goodbye. I wasn't really ready to do it because I had met so many people."

But just because she hasn't said goodbye doesn't mean that Juliette's stayed in the same old world. Along with five other KnoxCorps Fellows, Juliette has begun to learn the ropes of a non-profit organization. She attends weekly meetings with the KnoxCorps, contributes to group efforts to improve the community, and also works on her own projects at the Discovery Depot, one of the 12 non-profits in town hosting KnoxCorps fellows and students. Motivated by the mission to "inspire wonder and excitement for learning," Juliette leads the Depot's classes in Spanish and fine arts and assists the science classes. Each class is specifically designed for homeschooled children.

Juliette's also dedicated much of her energy to grant writing, a project that's been integral for development of the Depot. In fact, with grant applications that Juliette has written, the Discovery Depot will hopefully introduce a new exhibit very soon. The planned exhibit will focus on the invention of the Ferris Wheel by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., the grandchild of one of Galesburg's founders, Silvanus Ferris.

"With that exhibit, kids will have a chance to build simple structures," said Juliette. "There'll also be a gear wall and a magnetic ball wall, where kids will try to get a ball to travel down a track using tunnels and tubes and their imagination."

Denise Bradburn, the executive director of Discovery Depot, said that Juliette's writing skills have been a major asset to the organization.

"She's absolutely grown in her grant writing experience," Bradburn said. "I've seen her writing grow and develop. We feel very appreciative to have a KnoxCorps Fellow, and Juliette is getting a very well-rounded experience."

Juliette's fellowship wouldn't be possible were it not for the sponsorship of F&M Bank, one of six local sponsors supporting KnoxCorps.

"F&M Bank is proud to be a part of the KnoxCorps program," said Doug Sanders, president and CEscO of F&M Bank. "We are confident that we will see many rewarding opportunities for both the organizations and the students as a result of this partnership."

"It is a very necessary collaboration to aide in the growth of our community," added Rhonda Simpson, director of marketing and public relations at F&M Bank. "Attracting young people to remain in Galesburg and begin their working career is a challenge, and this program is a wonderful step in the right direction towards that goal."

Perhaps because of the unique local nature of the fellowship -- where college, business, and non-profit converge -- Juliette's transcended the spatial boundaries of campus and allowed herself a new view of the city where she's now spent close to five years.

"I think we can all see Galesburg in a different light," Juliette said of herself and the other Knox Corps Fellows. "We're more invested than we were before. We've improved ourselves. There are so many things I didn't know about before doing Knox Corps, things that I wasn't even aware of."

Juliette means things like the Galesburg Youth Athletic Club, where she now routinely boxes, or the city library's book club.

"There's a nice quality of life in Galesburg that is often missed, and even though I am in Galesburg, I have moved on in a way," said Juliette, who doesn't plan on buying a train ticket any time soon. "I'm starting a new life even though I'm still here."

Below, more photos of Juliette Campbell and her students at the Discovery Depot Children's Museum in Galesburg