I’m in love.
Don’t worry; Les is okay with it.
See, he is in love too.
No, I’m not talking about being in love with each other (although we are, just so no rumors start).
About six weeks ago we began volunteering at a local elementary school. During the summer, I went in and talked with the new principal. “What do you need?” I asked.
“The best predictor of if a child will drop out of high school or not, is if they are reading at grade level by third grade.”
That’s what she told me. And so we began volunteering to help kids read. We’re with fourth graders, actually, so for Les, who is working with some of the poorest readers, it’s a rescue mission. He works with a few kids, rotating between them to help them develop comprehension skills.
The kids love him. There is one little girl who came up to me in her classroom (where I volunteer) after I had been introduced as Mrs. Cool. “Mr. Cool is in my group,” she shared breathlessly. “He’s fun. And nice.” She gave him a bracelet. “I think we’re going steady,” Les told some pastor friends.
I help a teacher by running a literature circle where we read and talk about what we’ve read. There are nine kids in my group. Some race to sit beside me. One little guy, came looking for me when we volunteered at the football game snack shop; he bragged in school about having seen me on Friday night. Other kids come up for hugs. One greeted me in enthusiastically in the grocery store.
Last week, when I hadn’t arrived on time, one of the boys worriedly asked the teacher where I was.
It’s nice to be loved.
We like it so much that even though we are only committed to be there for two days a week, we go in other days if we can. We look forward to interacting with the kids.
I know we are helping them. I know they are becoming more enthusiastic about reading. I hope it means each will one day graduate from high school.
But they are giving us something as well:
A chance to make a difference.
An opportunity to serve.
Smiles filled with love.