I started volunteering with Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV) shortly after moving to the area about three years ago. I was welcomed into the organization, and supported every step of the way. I find the CSV to be high quality, flexible, and easy to work with. The programs are able to accommodate the varied schedules a volunteer, as long as that volunteer is able to be consistent, and will work to build positive one-on-one relationships with students. The employees of CSV are knowledgeable, friendly, organized and a pleasure to work with. Each employee is dedicated to the success of the students, making it easy to feel like you are part of the team right away. Having this extra support to work in the Cambridge public schools is a great way for volunteers to build confidence and skills in the fantastic Cambridge students! Right now, I am able to read to elementary age student during the school day. It is a nice break from my regular job, and CSV makes it fun and rewarding for my assigned student and I. I also was able to help coordinate some of the programs for older students and was impressed with how the staff was able to treat all students, volunteers, partners and community members with such consistently high levels of respect and kindness. The training is useful, without being a huge time commitment. If you are looking to volunteer in the area with, I would highly suggest considering this organization!
I became involved with CSV when I retired from a career in urban planning. I have been working in the high school helping kids with their college applications for the past few years. I have found it tremendously rewarding; CSV trains us for our experience and helps us with questions that arise. I have worked with young people with a variety of skill levels and academic histories, but in all cases they appreciate the support and I think benefit from having the undivided attention of a caring adult who can help with this daunting process. I feel truly privileged to be part of the organization.
I originally became involved with CSV as a board member and soon after started volunteering. I chose to work at one of the Middle School Learning Centers (Rindge Avenue Upper Campus)
and was assigned to work weekly one on one with a 7th grade girl. We began by interviewing each other as a way to get to know each other a little bit and continued throughout the year building a rapport while working on homework and projects together. By the end of the year we developed a friendship that has lasted the past 2+ years. She came back as an 8th grader and we worked for another full school year. The advancement and maturity she gained through this experience was greatly apparent. Not only did she become a more engaged and involved student, she grew as a person. I was so happy to have the opportunity to work with the same child 2 years in a row. I feel we both gained a great deal. I continue to be in touch with her and will help her in High School if I am able. The Middle School Learning center currently run by Kim Goldstein is a warm and friendly environment where the tutors and students get to know each other. There is a strong sense of caring by both students and volunteers. During the year, we had several celebrations and played educational games which everyone looked forward to and enjoyed.
I cannot say enough about how 1 hour a week can make such a positive impact on a Middle Schooler. At CSV, we believe that every child can benefit by having an adult in their life other than a parent and or their teachers who cares about them and helps them learn and grow. This is a special relationship that CSV promotes and supports at the Middle School Learning Centers. I'm so happy to be part of this and look forward to meeting my next student.
Cambridge School Volunteers is a unique organization that helps connect the resources of the Cambridge community with Cambridge public school students. Programs like NetPals are consistently given high ratings by students and parents because of the deep connections that are forged between leading STEM professionals and 7th grade Cambridge students. These one on one relationships are the hallmark of the work that CSV does. My personal experience as a reading buddy with 1st and 2nd graders has allowed me to share my biggest passion, reading, with an individual student over the course of a school year. In the short term students improve their reading fluency. Longer term these relationships continue informally because I am an adult in the community who knows this child and is offering support or even just a friendly hello.