Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – Learning Something New

Name: Jessica Garcia Lopez
From: Charlotte , NC
Grade: 10th
School: South
Votes: 0

Something New

I have never really liked the idea of having a Teacher like role. It always seemed to me that they had to deal with annoying, selfish, self-centered kids all day. For me I saw this as a very frustrating job I never knew how every teacher at the end of the day managed to smile goodbye to each of his or her students. When I started volunteering at my local library I was just there to get my 5 hours of volunteer service that my church required me to do in order to get confirmed. Cearra the volunteer manager asked me if I would like to continue volunteering at the library. She informed me about the Reading Buddies program that they were starting. I decided to join because I knew I needed volunteer hours for school and because it was a great way to get better in my communications skills.

            I started out volunteering Monday and Tuesday for one hour each day since September 21, 2015. All throughout my freshmen year of high school and summer I volunteered. Once I started my Sophomore year I got busier at school. I was invited to join the Spanish Honors Society.

            I was elated to be part of the group but in order to be a member I had to actively participate in their Monday after school
tutoring program. The after school tutoring went from 2:30 To 3:30pm, while Reading Buddies was from 4 to 5. There was no way I could go make it to the library in thirty minutes. I do not have a car to drive myself from school to the library because I rely on my parents to drive me to places and with two other siblings it is not very easy for them to be punctual. I had two options here 1.Quit volunteering at the library and 2.Just volunteer on Tuesdays. I chose my second option because I had gotten very attached to the kids that would come to the program with smiles on their faces ready to dive into an “Elephant and Piggie” book or any book that would catch their interest when I walked them through the vast shelf of kids reading books.

            Everyday wasn’t always a good day. There was this one kid that would not stop talking about random topics as a way for him to not have to read the book. I read the book to him but there was no point in me doing that for him because he was in this program to help him improve his reading skills. As a reading buddy I had to find a way to help him learn to like to read. It was very stressful at first to have the kid read but I eventually unlocked the secret to all hyper kids. Have fun with them too.

            Every Monday when Darion came through the door I mentally prepared myself for his funny jokes and his stubbornness to not read a page of the book. My game plan was to make him read one word then I would read the next word. My plan progressed from word to word to sentence to sentence and then page to page until he eventually would read the whole “Piggie and Elephant” book. It brought me great satisfaction seeing a kid who had struggled with reading improve on their reading skills and learn to love to read books.

            I have learned how to be patient, I have learned how to talk with parents or any adult figure, and learned different methods to teach a child to learn based on their energy levels. Without hesitation I will continue volunteering here to share the love of reading to

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