I have tutored Reading for 2 years with kindergarten and first grade children in Berkeley. It is rewarding to see students improve their reading skills. It is fun to work with talented teachers who teach well the academics and teach how to be a compassionate person.
The training and support received from Experience Corps Bay Area has been excellent. Tutoring has been fun (and educational), and it is tremendously satisfying to see how much the students improve their reading skills and self confidence from the one-on-one assistance.
I've been an EC volunteer in San Franciso for 5 years working in two different schools with primarily low income kids in second and fourth grades. The support was always there if I needed it from EC...not so much from school personnel as they always seemed overwhelmed. Without expectations of students, meeting the kids where they were on that day, was key to my success in maximizing my time to their benefit. The EC program fulfills my daily goal of making a difference one child at a time.
As a retired bank employee, I would like to add another view. The outstanding on-going training and support provided to volunteers by Experience Corp allows tutors with business backgrounds to feel directly connected to the world of education. Representing ECBA in the city's SFUSD has opened up a significant sense of linking with elementary school professionals, great relationships with ECBA trainers and staff, and of course, the path of children's education. I never would have anticipated that my banking background could evolve in to this current, dynamic association with adults and children.
I've been working with Experience Corps in Oakland for 4 years. They provide their volunteers with many training and feedback opportunities I've been with the first grade and have found that the children so appreciate having an adult to give them special attention and help. It seems to really make a difference in their school involvement.
My experience being a volunteer with Experience Corps Bay Area has been wonderful and very fulfilling. The organization is truly dedicated to helping small children, kindergardeners through 3 graders, learn the importance of being strong readers to help aid in the rest of their education.
In my experience, matching 50+ aged people with these small readers has been a great experience for not only the children, but for the adults.
Helping a few 7 and 8 years olds succeed in advancing their reading skills, the notion of "really helping" came to fruition when the last day of school came to pass this school year. I had equipped one of my readers with a few books for him to read during the summer. Waiting with him for his Mom to pick him up, I told him, I didn't want him to forget his book bag (I had visited the Lost and Found with this child too often during the year!) . He looked at me and said, "Ms. --------, I would never forget my backpack; practically my whole life is in that bag!"
I was satisfied.
I am now looking forward to the next school year and more 2nd grade readers.
Experience Corps in San Francisco is one of the best run volunteer organizations for what it has identified as an at-risk group requiring the sharing of knowledge through a gentle and firm approach: in helping young pupils up to grade 3 to exercise reading skills that would allow them to functional well and competitively in an educational environment. The corps takes a professional approach to training its volunteers, and its staff is highly supportive and knowledgeable. I have been with the corps for a relatively short time (less than a year) and have found that it has an excellent relationship with the public schools that it serves. I've found the work very gratifying - not all problems are solvable in the short term, but being in a position to provide a solution does have its benefits from time to time - a passage well-read, a compliment for a job well done, a smile on a child's face.
I've been working with Experience Corps Bay Area (at my old elementary school in Oakland, which makes it even more fun). I see it as not only helping the children get up to speed in their reading, but it's a win-win, as it engages some of us who are retired and want to "give back." It's a perfect example of helping people of youth and seniors at the same time. I recommend it to anyone who wants to do something positive. The rewards are immense for both age groups, evidenced in the children looking forward to their tutoring experience each time they see you.