I’ve been working with BIP for about 2 years now and it has been an exceptional experience. Working with the students and tutoring them has let me get to know them and has taught me about what is means to be an immigrant in this day in age. Now I am able to look at social issues with a different more critical and nuanced lens. In addition, it has been very rewarding to watch the students grow and improve in the subjects. I feel like I’m making a difference in their lives. Clearly they have made a difference in mine.
I had never had the opportunity for what I thought was going to be quite a unique challenge, and it is indeed a challenge, but I find the students happy, despite their circumstances, and eager to learn which is half the battle if not more.
It is very rewarding to realize that you are possibly making even just a small difference in a young person’s life, such as helping to clear up what may be a confusing issue for them, or such as simply pointing out or reinforcing something, even just a little thing, that could be a very important building block.
I’ve been a volunteer at BIP for several years and what keeps me coming back is the motivation of the students I work with. Learning new material in a new language can be overwhelming, but they really want to do it, and do it well, and they appreciate our help. They always say “Thank You”.
One of my most rewarding experiences was working with an 8th grade student who needed help reading an article and answering questions. I explained words, phrases and idioms she was unfamiliar with and helped her understand them within the context of the article. She was then able to answer all the questions correctly by herself without any prodding from me. When I told her what a great job she did, she smiled and told me that when she first read the article by herself she just wanted to “throw it away”. She went from utter frustration to feeling proud of what she was able to do, and I helped her get there. Not a bad way to spend a few hours.
Volunteering with BIP was one the best decisions I have ever made. The students are truly an incredible group of kids. They have completely and utterly captured my heart. I have also gained valuable experience in teaching, youth work, and mentoring.
-Seth F. (aka Mr. Seth)
I love helping kids with reading and spelling! Understanding English is so important to succeeding in other classes, and you can be really creative and fun with how you teach different words and ideas. By tutoring one-on-one you can also tailor your approach to each kid’s individual personality and skills, and the process strengthens and broadens your own perspective of language and learning, too!
I keep coming back every week to volunteer because it’s really rewarding seeing the kids’ reaction when they learn something new. Volunteering with BIP has also given me some really great experience working with ESL students as well.