When I tell people what I do for a living the response is almost always the same—“Oh, it must be so rewarding to give back to the community like that.” I guess that’s one way to look at it. Personally, I think I’m lucky to have the opportunity to have our students give me so much.
Today, I witnessed a student face one of his biggest fears. To see him accomplish a goal he never thought possible helped me realize that students give me so much more than I give them. Our students constantly give:
Trust- In order for the relationship between us and a student to be successful, a student has to trust us to help them judgment free. Many times our students have faced constant ridicule for their lack of reading skills. To give trust so freely is truly a gift.
Time- We ask our students to establish a new routine to face an incredible challenge. Our students walk in the door without knowing how much they will learn, or if we will really help them reach their goals. Yet, week after week, they continue to give us their time. This also builds on the trust factor. They trust that we will help them, so they continue to give us their time.
Devotion- Students come here ready to learn, but uncertain of the results. However, they devote their time and energy to not only the program, but to us as individuals. The devotion given to us is a priceless gift beyond measure.
Fulfillment- My job is perhaps the best job in the world. I get to work with the most amazing group of people; donors, volunteers, staff, supporters, and especially students. As much as I enjoy my time with volunteers and supporters, it pales in comparison to my time with students. The warm fuzzy feeling I get when a student grasps a concept is second to none. When a student achieves something, like the student today, it makes my heart swell. Not because I helped him get to where he is, but because he got there, and I had the pleasure to be a part of it.
To each of our students, supporters, and volunteers, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the gifts each of you give me.