When did you get involved with Making It Better?
I got involved with Making It Better in the Fall of 2017 as a Lunch Bunch mentor.
How did you get involved?
Making It Better and the organization I work for, Youth Development Center (YDC), provide similar literacy services at Betsy Ross Elementary. Making It Better provides support during the school day and YDC provides after-school programming. I chose to start mentoring with Lunch Bunch because it allows me an additional opportunity to be hands-on with students. My Lunch Bunch girls are not enrolled at YDC, but I'm still able to encourage them in the same way I do our YDC students.
What has your experience been as a volunteer and as an employee in the education/literacy sector for the past few years?
Working in the education sector within low-income schools and neighborhoods has been both a challenging and an eye-opening experience. One of the common misconceptions is that these students and parents do not care about their children's education. Parents and guardians want the best for their children but often have roadblocks such as financial stressors, their own education levels, language barriers and other challenges that make it difficult to meet the needs their students have. Organizations like Making It Better and Youth Development Center provides a much-needed service to combat those barriers and help these children and their families succeed. Being a part of these solutions is incredibly rewarding.
What is the most rewarding thing about being involved as a mentor in the Lunch Bunch program?
At YDC, I am on the Development side of the organization. I get to interact with our students, but not on a sustained or weekly basis. With Lunch Bunch I get to talk to the students, problem solve and love on them. Developing those deeper relationships is not only important to them but a light in a busy week for me.
What's your favorite children's book?
Too many to choose from! Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae is one of my favorites, though.
What's your favorite Lunch Bunch lesson?
Communication is my favorite lesson! Whenever we talk about better ways to communicate with each other, not only do the students learn, but I learn as well.
What has been your most memorable moment working with the kids in Lunch Bunch?
Last spring, two of my girls were in a fight. It also happened to be a day in which we talked about apologizing. Through the activity, the two girls were able to see each other's points of view, and they were able to make up at the end of the lesson. They also learned it's okay to be upset, but the importance of not acting on those feelings. We all need that lesson sometimes!
In your own words, why is literacy so important?
I believe literacy is important because the ability to read is something that no one can ever take away from you.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Read! And hang out with my dog, Stella!