Post Submitted by Cathy Berwald, Volunteer Tutor
Years ago I felt a desire to seek out volunteer opportunities in my neighborhood and after searching the web, I discovered Solid Ground. Such a wonderful organization that aids in preventing homelessness. They offer a caring transitional living environment that encourages families to recognize and reach life’s goals.
I had previous experience as a volunteer and teachers’ aid in elementary classrooms and really enjoyed working with young people who were energetic and eager to learn. I started helping at the Solid Ground Tutoring program and found it so beneficial to be able to connect one on one to a student every week throughout the school year, something a bit different from a classroom of students. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with the same student for 3 years now, he’s very special and we don’t know how long any family will be living at Solid Ground. It’s also a pleasure to meet someone new each year if you’ve tutored someone else from the previous school year. The program is very flexible and offers a variety of days and times where volunteers can plug in and assist students of all ages.
It’s so rewarding to enter the Community Room and see “Logan” with a big smile on his face, anxious to eat his healthy snack (usually asking for extra peanut butter), anticipating the game/free time, and generally ready to work on math, writing or reading skills. We laugh together, we share stories, we look forward to filling the math and reading logs to earn a prize as a result of all the hard work put into learning. Sometimes he brings a superhero figure or something from home that he uses to play games with 4 playing pieces. I’ll bring a superhero from home too and then we have 4 players, instead of just the 2 of us, and we can play board games with even more excitement to see who will win, and who comes in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. It’s surprising how often our plastic figure sitting on the table wins the board game.
I’ve learned that sometimes life can be tough for kids, yet they keep moving forward, they persevere, they overcome hurdles and remind me that, even as an adult, I can do the same. It’s so rewarding to give time to someone who desires that attention, who appreciates the tutors and who enjoys the after school program offered to them at Solid Ground. I’m thankful for the compassionate staff at Solid Ground, for the terrific training they have for the tutors, and for the guidance and care they give to each student’s needs. What a blessing for Logan and for myself!