There are so many reasons that volunteering with VU is special–hundreds if you count all the children you work with over the course of many years–but one that always stands out is hearing from or seeing former students and young volunteers. VU has been fortunate to have many high school students volunteer with the program. Their enthusiasm and skills are especially important because they are also role models for our students, many of whom aspire to be like them. So it is always wonderful to get an update after they move on to college or career. This week, we heard from a young woman who graduated a couple of years ago and is now in college. She’s doing great and is still asking about VU and the students. She made a difference for the kids, but clearly they touched her too.
As luck would have it, we also saw a former student this week when she stopped by to pick up her siblings. When she first came to VU, she had some learning challenges and didn’t always make it easy for the volunteers. But as time went on, she worked hard to develop better social and academic skills, and she grew right into a special place in our hearts! Now 16, she is in high school and doing well. Every time we see her, it’s a reminder that our short time with the students is precious and has the potential for a long-term positive effect.
We sometimes worry that we are not doing enough, that students are not gaining as much ground as we would like, so it helps to be reminded that the time we spend will have a lasting effect. We just have to make sure that every interaction is a positive one, whether it leads to an “aha” moment in math or just a smile because you asked about a favorite soccer team.