When I first volunteered at the Kids U tutoring program, I had no idea what to expect. I was working with kids from a different generation, from a different demographic, with different educational needs than what I was used to. After spending my first day on site, these doubts melted away.

On my first day, the coordinator and I went to pick up the children from their previous activity at school and walked them back to the apartment complex where the tutoring facility is located. I introduced myself to some of the children, and two of them started clinging to me as I held their hands on the walk back. I was amazed at how quickly we were able to connect, and for them to become attached to me – the children began squabbling about which one of them I looked most similar to. I had become a mentor figure to them by merely making the commitment to spend my day working with them.

Once we got back to the site, I began helping second- and third-graders with their activities. Each student had to complete a math and reading worksheet to practice their skills before beginning their summer homework. I promised the students that if they finished their work early, we could do an activity with Play-Doh®. This served as a strong motivator to the kids, who scrambled to finish their activities. I made sure they got all their questions correct before moving forward.

Once the children finished their activities, I helped them make X’s and O’s out of Play-Doh so we could play tic-tac-toe. The students meticulously crafted their pieces, and we played tic-tac-toe to celebrate. At the end of the day, one of my students handed me a note that she had been working on the whole class. It was a thank-you note for being her tutor, and she asked if I could be her teacher tomorrow and every day. This melted my heart and made the whole experience worthwhile. It is experiences like this that make my work with DISD worthwhile.