Since January, I have been volunteering every Wednesday at an organization called Reading Partners where I have been helping a girl who is behind reading level in her grade to develop her reading skills. I read with her, practice comprehension skills like sequence of events, and do practice worksheets with her. At first, Reading Partners was not what I thought it would be. The girl I was tutoring was really not interested in reading, and she would sometimes refuse to talk to me. I began to feel like I wasn’t making a difference at all, and I was frustrated about her lack of interest. But when I talked to Mariana, the supervisor of the Reading Partners site, she told me about possible struggles the girl was having at her home. When Mariana spoke about this to me, I realized that when you volunteer, you might not always see an immediate positive outcome. There are some circumstances that are beyond your control. It’s easy to get discouraged about this, but it was important for me to remember that volunteering isn’t about making myself feel better about what a good person I am. It’s about genuinely helping someone else, not for your self-interest but because you want to help make someone’s life better.
I’m now tutoring a different girl at Reading Partners, who’s a little younger and isn’t always interested in reading or doing activities. But instead of getting discouraged, I keep working with her, and I think that she might get up to grade reading level. I find tutoring her really rewarding, and I love moments like when she figures out how to read a word she was having trouble with before. Through my time at Reading Partners, I’ve learned that you might not always see progress right away when volunteering but that doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. It takes time to see progress.