Zoe told us she volunteered as an after-school tutor at least once a week during all four years of high school. She specifically worked with the elementary school program, which was set up so that each child had one tutor assigned to him/her for the whole school year. Zoe said the tutors mostly just help with homework, but there are also some extra reading and math activities, and the last 15 minutes of the day are always set aside for some play time.
During her 4 years at the PCC, Zoe was able to work with one 10 year old student for 2 years in a row, which she said was a relationship that taught her a lot about breaking several different kinds of boundaries. Not only did this relationship break down barriers of age and socioeconomic status, but they also together learned to overcome mental barriers that would have kept the student from succeeding. One memory that stood out to Zoe was when the little girl got so frustrated with a problem they’d been working on that she crawled behind a TV to hide from Zoe. Zoe said, “I had to work with her and talk her down…and together we were able to figure out why it was so frustrating for her, and a better way for her to do it…We kind of had to start over a lot with how we approached things…I just remember feeling really proud of myself in a way, that I was able to get her to calm down and not feel so frustrated, and then continue to work and not just shut down and not do anything for the rest of the day.”
school to provide for [students with different learning abilities] what they needed, and just how easy it is for people to be looked over in the way our education system is set up…Something that was really important for me to learn was not to look down on other people because they learn in a different way because they can still learn, you just have to help them figure out the best way to do it.”
What are youth in your community doing to break down boundaries of any type? Let YMCo know!
As always, we’ve got a study guide to use with your youth. Check it out here!
Be on the look out for next week’s blog post about Emma, another Covenant Presbyterian youth who served at the PCC!