It’s my personal belief that an inverse effect exists: when the level of gross weather goes up, motivation to get out and volunteer goes down. I wholeheartedly understand this phenomenon, as I walked around the City Thursday evening looking like I had braved a hurricane. But allow me to pass on a little inspiration to motivate you to put the sweatpants away, leave the hot chocolate for another day, and continue your efforts toward building a better community.
On Wednesday I conducted mock interviews as part of Charlestown High School’s Professional Career Day. When I asked one student about a project he’d completed independently, he told me about helping to create a community basketball league in his Dorchester neighborhood, as a sign of peace after two shootings had occurred. He worked with neighbors to fundraise, took the lead on communication and outreach, and participated in events promoting peace and civic involvement. I was blown away. So despite the rain and the temptation to curl up on the couch under a blanket, keep volunteering since it’s worth it to see the impact you can make.
Agency Spotlight: X-Cel Adult Education
I think we all get a little nervous when we think about tutoring math…I mean, who remembers how to calculate slope or divide decimals anyway? If you’re like me, I haven’t taken a math class since Calc II in college, and the idea of simplifying radicals is fairly terrifying. But for students at X-Cel Adult Education, it’s what they’re striving for. X-Cel provides Pre-GED and GED classes, ESOL classes, college prep classes and computer classes at five locations throughout Boston to more than 200 adult students at any one time. X-Cel is the only program in the Boston area of its kind, as it offers admissions to all GED classes on a rolling basis, and provides both customized and small-group instruction to students.
If you can’t handle the math, they also offer writing and reading classes. I’ve worked with students of all ages and backgrounds at X-Cel and their eagerness to learn is so amazing. They have that thirst for learning that I completely took for granted when I was a student.
If you don’t believe me, take it from a stellar X-Cel volunteer, Boston Cares member Kevin Finn: “What I like the most about X-Cel is that all the students want to learn – you can tell that this is something that is really important to them. What makes it particularly rewarding is the students that start to learn the material not for the sake of learning it, but so that they can be better and more versed with math – seeing the students learning how to learn is a pretty cool experience.”
Power Lunches with ESL Students at Charlestown High: all you have to do to make an impact for these students is have a conversation. We’re all good at talking, right? Help these kids hone their skills and you can run your mouth as well.
Serve Lunch at the Boston Living Center: the amount of resources BLC provides to its clients living with HIV/AIDS is astounding. The volunteers are served lunch also…and their chefs are good over there!
Usher at the Central Square Theater: if you keep telling yourself, “I should really get more involved in the arts”, this is the perfect way to do it. Volunteer and see a great show (for free!) at the same time!
Kelly Clark, Boston Cares