Things at homework assistance have been humming along so smoothly! With an influx of new volunteers, there are enough people so that volunteers can spend individual time with students when they need it and accomplish much more than homework. VU has quite a collection of books; educational aids, such as flashcards, games, and manipulatives; and resource materials, so when the ratio of students to volunteers is low, we can work on skill building in math and language arts. We long-term volunteers have seen many times how well that pays off.
One student in particular came to us three years ago as a shy first grader who would barely speak. At first, we weren’t’ sure what she was capable of because she didn’t exhibit any reading skills or word sense, but as we developed a relationship with her, we soon discovered a charming and eager learner who had just not had an opportunity to develop her skills. Her desire to learn to read was inspiring, and she worked happily with volunteers nearly every day to improve. She still does.
As you can tell, she captured our hearts and as we watch her–and all the students–progress, we know that what we are doing makes a difference. Not only in what she learns, but in her knowledge that she can learn and that she can always seek help when she needs it. We are also making a difference for the parents who bring their children to us day-after-day, trusting us to help them help their children. The parents commitment to their children’s’ learning and success is so commendable, and we respect the trust they put in us.
Watching the students persist when they encounter a challenge, make strides in their learning, and work to meet their potential is inspiring. Joining VU as a volunteer is one of the best decisions I ever made. –Jan Umphrey, VU volunteer and board member