Learning is what we can say happens wherever Cambridge School Volunteers operates. It happens for a ninth-grader, grappling for the fourth time with a difficult math problem alongside a patient tutor, whose choice of words finally unlocks understanding.
It happens when an Art & Science in One mentor, cross-legged on the ground, bends over a drawing and notices, with a smile, that her fouth-grade student has added a beech tree’s shadow as well as its contour. It happens when a seventh-grader steps into the MIT Chemical Engineering lab with her NetPal and beholds a new world. It happens when a third-grader at Kennedy Longfellow hears his Reading Buddy read the word ESPIONAGE with expression, lifting his eyebrows.
Learning also happens on the other end of the volunteer-student relationship. Volunteers consistently tell us they learn from their students. They learn empathy, they learn about teenagers, they learn about learning itself. And they learn what they are capable of building in a young person: confidence, optimism, interest in a subject. Returning volunteers, whether coming back for a second year or a 10th, continue to grow from their experience with the varied and unique individual children or youth they assist. We honor not only their contributions, but their own learning.
Repeat and longtime volunteers get to know a classroom inside and out, receive special recognition, and come back year after year because they know they’re playing a role in their students’ success. In FY15, 23 percent of CSV’s volunteers had a tenure of four years or more. That consistency benefits students.