By Sarah Bey
Blog Content Contributor
Natalie Hemstreet is a Texas State freshman double majoring in psychology and math. She was born in Oxnard, California and later made her way to Austin, Texas because her parents found job opportunities. Hemstreet said she has lived in the area most of her life and had discovered her passions while growing up and volunteering in Austin.
“I love teaching and I love being with kids,” Hemstreet said. “Not like kids kids, I’m more of a middle school, high school kind of person. I also like to help people through their problems like on a day-to-day basis, especially working with special needs kids who can’t get everything that they need.”
When she was is in high school, Hemstreet said she was able to volunteer with a program called “Ready, Set, Teach.”
“I want to say I’ve been [volunteering] for five years with that,” Hemstreet said. “I’ve also worked with regular kids at an elementary school as an assistant teacher–just learning the ropes.”
Hemstreet said learning the ropes has helped her to understand how to cater to all students.
“You just have to approach them (special needs students) differently because all they really want to be is a normal high school kid or college kid,” Hemstreet said. “But sometimes, it’s hard because some of them can’t speak, some of them can’t hear, some of them can’t even walk. So you have to get down to their level and understand them because sometimes they can’t tell you, “Hey, I need to go to the restroom.” You have to go figure it out by certain triggers they have.”
While she’s not volunteering, Hemstreet spends most of her time at the library studying and with her friends in the campus ministry group, Alpha Omega.
“I’m making a card for a friend of mine,” Hemstreet said. “We like to encourage each other every once in awhile. (My friend) has been feeling really sick. We’re about to switch houses for the next semester because there’s a lot of students leaving campus and staying in apartments next year. We’re trying to get it all set up and she’s my first roommate. So, I’m like ‘I’m going to make her a card.’”
Hemstreet said the group has personality colors which helps members to uplift each other in ways that cater to each other’s personality traits.
“I have never taken the test actually,” Hemstreet said. “But a lot of people are like, ‘We can’t decide because you’re probably all of them.’ There’s green, blue, gold, and I think orange are the four colors. I was probably green…[which] is more like loyalty and kindness.”