“I never thought I would be on the phone talking about why I love Pi Phi,” admits Colorado Epsilon Melissa Brown. “The Fraternity changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined.” Melissa joined Pi Phi during her sophomore year at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS), as a way to get more involved and meet more people. Of course she made Sincere Friendships — the women who will be the aunts to her children or who will stand beside her on her wedding day — but it was also through Pi Phi she found a passion that will lead to a career in education.
Each year, the Colorado Epsilon Chapter goes to the local elementary school to give donations of book or to participate in reading with the kids as part of our Champions are Readers (C.A.R.) program. Being in the third grade classroom helped Melissa solidify her decision to earn a bachelor’s degree in Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education with a Special Education Endorsement. C.A.R. was a great way to get connected to the local school, especially since she will be participating in field work her junior year and student teaching senior year.
But the school is not the only place Melissa has found a special bond working with children. Melissa is a volunteer though her church in a special needs ministry where she is assigned a buddy to work one on one with. Her buddy is “G,” a little boy with a sensory processing disorder. She was warned that G was not affectionate or talkative, but she found the complete opposite working with him. Melissa and G have a very good bond.
She recalls a Sunday when they were sitting through children’s worship together and the music was too loud. G snuggled up to her, gave her a hug and requested headphones to muffle the sound. “When he was vulnerable and scared he looked toward me to help him out,” she recalls. “You don’t often see that reassurance you are doing a good job, but in moments like that, it makes everything worth it.”