My Favorite Part of Volunteering
As a CLUES volunteer I had to travel across town in rush hour traffic to make it to my volunteer class on time. Driving through rush hour is no fun, especially considering the road construction on the 62/35W exchange. I would arrive to CLUES around 6pm tired and tense. When I got there, I’d have to quickly organize the worksheets, make copies, and gather materials together for my 6:30 class. The CLUES volunteer coordinator, Angela, was always very helpful, and she was good at checking in with the group of volunteers to make sure we had everything we needed. With her help, I always managed to prepare for my class in time, though I was usually a little flustered going in.
When I started to teach my small class of students, I began to relax and loosen up. As my students and I settled into class, my stress seemed to unwind itself. My class would usually joke around, and we had fun with the activities. By the end of class I seemed to have forgotten my own stresses/problems and replaced them with positive energy and optimism. Watching my students learn and knowing that I was helping them learn English, which is something essential to their livelihood, was extremely rewarding and it made me feel good.
The good feeling and energy that you gain from helping adults learn English is one of the things I enjoyed most about volunteering. In my job at the Minnesota Literacy Council, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with and hear from many literacy volunteers, and they have reminded me of this feeling. I’ve realized that many volunteers notice it. It’s neat to discover that this is something that many of us share as literacy volunteers.