Monday, February 09, 2009

Beckwourth Homework Helpers

I started volunteering with Volunteer San Diego a few years ago and dabbled in a little bit of everything that they offer. I tried out some of their senior citizen lunches, the San Diego Food Bank, Brown Baggers, and Special Delivery to name a few. I finally found my perfect volunteering opportunity with the Beckwourth Homework Helpers program. My office is downtown and I get off at 5:00pm, so it makes for perfect timing since Beckwourth Homework Helpers starts at 6:00pm in the barrio area. The first night I went, Austen (the team leader) graciously greeted me at the door and paired me up with a girl named Erica. She said she needed help with her math homework and when I asked if she was good at math, she said no. She was timid at first, and would quietly ask if she had done her problem correctly. She did a wonderful job so I praised her and let her know that she was in fact quite good at math. From that point on, she sped through her homework with a huge smile on her face. All she needed was a little positive reinforcement and it felt good knowing that I could give that to her.

The kids and young adults that come to The Beckwourth Homework Helpers are all very bright and typically just like confirmation that they are doing things correctly. It's nice going on a regular basis because then you can follow up with the students to see how their test went, or what grade they earned on their essay or even just to say hello again.

For me, The Beckwourth Homework Helpers has been the most rewarding volunteering experience that I have had through Volunteer San Diego. I recommend this program to everyone, even if you feel like you're not particularly good in one subject. The educational needs range from learning to read to advanced biology to simple math to pre calculus to Spanish. No matter what subject you help someone in, you'll walk away knowing that you helped a child learn something and feel more confident in their skills.

Lacy Bird is a member and Team Leader of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego.

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