Arvind, Maguire Fellow in Dallas

Arvind is a junior majoring in finance with a specialization in alternative asset management at the Cox School of Business. He was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2014 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU. He is working with Apollo Tutors and the Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education at SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development to set up a process to connect volunteers with tutoring opportunities at schools in West Dallas.

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Making a difference one day at a time

Arvind

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.

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