Photo Courtesy of Monica Lightner
Some kids at Lincoln Elementary School endure a tough school day. They arrive at the time school starts, but don’t get home until 5:30 p.m. at night. Most of these kids are from families who are less fortunate than other kids in the community.
That’s why the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center helps these kids. Every day after school, high-school teens through adults help the elementary grade kids at Lincoln complete their homework and reinforce their math and literacy skills.
I started volunteering through the GECRC near the beginning of the school year. I went to Ben Franklin Elementary School, and Lincoln was new turf for me. To be honest, I was ironically afraid of losing my way in this small elementary school, even though I have six floors at West to worry about.
I found out that I did not need to worry, because Mrs. Monica Lightner, the Director of Program and Volunteers at the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center, held the door open and greeted me with a great smile. I was directed to the child I would be tutoring. When we were introduced, he gave me a huge hug, despite me being four or five heads taller than him. We quickly got to work; I helped him with his homework, and we read together.
The camaraderie between us grew and grew; and although we did the dreaded task of homework from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., he still was energetic and seemed to love to have someone to help him.
Volunteering at the GECRC is simple. First, you fill an application online. After being chosen to volunteer, you go to an orientation about simple do’s and don’ts. Then, you get assigned to a student.
Juniors and seniors can opt to volunteer at Hadley Junior High School to tutor sixth through eighth graders. The GECRC needs about 15 volunteers per day.
Hailey Ardell, a junior at Glenbard West, says that “The GECRC is flexible in allowing tutors to pick which day(s) of the week work for them to tutor. Once you pick your day(s) of the week, you generally stick with that same day.”
Volunteering can accommodate a majority of schedules, and since it is only from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. for volunteering at Lincoln, and 3:30 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. at Hadley., it isn’t a huge time commitment.
And the return to you as a tutor: a great, loving kid to work with weekly, and sharing an indescribable bond. As Hailey puts it, “Over the past 3 school years, I have worked with three different students. All three have had different personalities and abilities and it was (and is) a joy to get to know them.”
Not only this, but passing on information you have learned to younger kids to help them learn is satisfying.
For example, my student and I were going multiplying integers by nine. I asked him if he had ever learned the “hand trick” for multiplying by nines. This trick is simple. You hold out both hands, palms facing away from you. If you had to multiply 9 X 6, starting on your left pinky, you would count 6 fingers over, since you are multiplying 9 six times. The finger where you land gets put down, and anything to the left of the finger is in the tens place, and anything to the right is in the ones place. In 9 X 6, there are five fingers on the left, and four on the right. That makes the product 54. This trick works when multiplying all numbers up to ten by nine.
He was fascinated by this aid and was so excited to use it whenever he had to multiply by nine with multiplication flashcards.
Hailey also says, “I feel that high school students can especially relate to the elementary school students as we can still remember aspects of what it was like to be at their age, which helps to connect more with the students.”
If you want to partake in this wonderful and enlightening activity, go online to ‘www.gecrc.com/volunteer/volunteer-application’.
Help your community and the kids in it. Volunteer for the GECRC.