I have no doubt that the Charlottesville Abundant Life tutoring program has been as big a blessing in my life as it has been in the lives of the children that I have tutored. This is my seventh year as a tutor. The children teach me as much about life as I teach them about math and reading. They have taught me patience, dedication, perseverance and much more.
The relationships I have formed with the staff and volunteers have also been invaluable; they always have a positive attitude and are quick to offer support and encouragement, whether about tutoring or about my life in general. I have truly loved tutoring but I would be lying to say that every minute has been fun. There are hard days. It is hard to get a child to sit still and pay attention to her work when she has already been at school for 7 hours. It is hard to get a child excited about doing fractions and spelling. It is hard to watch a child get frustrated over something she does not understand.
But I admire these kids. I admire their ability to sit still (for the most part) and listen when they’ve been sitting at desks all day long. I admire their dedication to learning, even when it’s not exciting. I admire their perseverance in struggling to understand hard concepts. It is the children themselves who make all the hard days worthwhile. Their smiling faces are what I look forward to every week. At the end of the year, being able to see the progress a child has made is immensely rewarding. Books which she first took one look at and pronounced “too hard” have become easy. Multiplication problems have finally clicked and she breezes through them in moments.
And yet, the most enjoyable part of tutoring is the relationship that I am able to develop with a child. Hearing her stories and listening to her descriptions of her family give me insight into her life. There is no greater blessing than being a part of someone’s life. Having a child tell me that she wishes I tutored her every day or who is eager to share her day with me; to have one scream excitedly and run to give me a hug when I arrive is an indescribable joy. This spring, when I graduate from UVA, I don’t know what I will be doing or where I will end up. But I do know that if it takes me away from Charlottesville, there are few things that I will miss as dearly as Abundant Life tutoring, which has shaped and enriched the last seven years of my life and for the best.
Posted by guest blogger, Caroline Carter, Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries Volunteer
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