Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love & Trust = Priceless

By Tierra Evans
Today, I stepped outside of Randle Highlands Elementary School with a valuable lesson. As a tutor, if you are fortunate enough to gain the love and trust of your tutee, that is a reward in itself. When I initially began working with my student, Jerome, I was a little uneasy. The student I had before him did not work well in the program and had to explore other options outside of D.C. Reads. As his tutor, I felt unwanted and even a little incompetent. I asked myself, “Am I doing something wrong?” When I began working with Jerome, he resisted because he wanted to stay in a group with his friend. He also felt disliked and unloved because he changed tutors a lot. More than once he told me that he thought I didn’t like him and that I was just going to leave him like everyone else.
After today, I can honestly say that Jerome is like a completely new student and has even helped me regain my own confidence with tutoring. Initially he came in sad, but after talking with him and explaining that I was never going to leave, he opened up to me. He expressed his sadness and shared tough issues about his life at home that affect him every day. I shared some of my own issues with him and then we connected instantly. From that point on, I knew that we developed our own unique bond of love, and of trust. Jerome has given me a sense of belonging because I now have a new tutee that appreciates me. Jerome also knows that I care about and that he can always count on me. All in all, the most productive environment is one in which the tutor and the tutee can feel comfortable. The mutual exchange of love, and of trust is priceless…

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative

By Danna Khabbaz
This past weekend, some members of DC Reads attended a second retreat organized for the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) (Be sure to read Tierra Evans' reflection post below to learn more about the retreat). The above link leads to the DCPNI website, which explains in more detail the Promise Neighborhood Initiative, started by the Obama administration. The Parkside-Kennelworth neighborhood in Ward 7 was one of 21 neighborhoods to win a $500,000 grant that will go towards planning initiatives to improve all aspects of the area, including education, health resources, and safety. President Obama has set $210 million dollars aside in his 2011 fiscal budget to invest in 5-year grants towards these initial Promise Neighborhood plans. (An earlier post- "Back in Action" also describes the DCPNI in more detail)