Hi! My name is Erika and I’m a Junior in high school. I started tutoring kids back when I was a Freshman. One of my teachers knew that I was interested in possibly being a teacher and encouraged me to join the program. I was always trying to help the younger kids in my collegiate program, and she thought I might make a good tutor. I started out helping 5th graders but now work mostly with kids in the 3rd grade.
When COVID-19 happened and schools were closed, I naturally started helping kids in my neighborhood. I’m the only one who knows about technology and a lot of the schoolwork needs to be done online. So I started showing them how to submit assignments.
I also helped with translating the lessons for both the kids and their parents. A lot of people in my neighborhood do not speak English and I am bilingual, so I would explain it in Spanish to help them know what to do.
Then my teacher reached out and asked if I would be willing to tutor younger kids for United to Learn using the online BookNook program. I wasn’t sure how to manage it all at first because I have my own schoolwork as well. But I’ve been working really hard to complete my own assignments quickly so that I have time left for tutoring.
I’m most excited about watching the students improve in their reading level. It’s fun to see when they “get it” and their faces light up. I also want them to know that it’s okay to ask questions, and it’s always better to reach out and ask than just to struggle.
My mom is the one who really inspired me to do this. She has volunteered at my school since I was little. At first, she served as a teacher’s assistant, helping around the classroom, cutting out projects for the teacher…things like that. But then she started filling in when the teacher needed a break, explaining work to groups of two or three students and even tutoring. My mom is my hero!
I’d like to encourage other high school students like me that you are not too young to volunteer. You can make a difference even in the smallest things. The kids that I work with really appreciate the help. It’s fun to see how excited their faces are when they see me.
Share some ideas below of how you are supporting others like Erika through the pandemic.
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