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Hungry to Learn

Illustration Photo credit: Courtesy of David Castillo

I absolutely love being a volunteer at the Korchak School in Kiryat Motzkin, working with 4th and 5th graders twice a week. In the beginning, I had no idea what to expect from the school, the teachers, the children or from myself. But after my first day of working from 08:00 till 12:40 with different children in each class , I immediately felt how much the children like and appreciate me.

I am working with the children on reading and writing and on things that the teachers have no time for. For example, I noticed that all the children write the letters of the alphabet completely wrong and they do not even know the names of the letters. They learn to memorize whatever the teacher is teaching them. But when it comes to reading from another source, they simply cannot do it. So I work with them on reading. Each time, I work with children who are taught by one of the two English teachers. Both teachers have told me more than once that the children ask why I am only helping them once a week and why I can't help them more. Children that I am not helping come to me asking if I will also work with them. I tell them that they have to ask their teachers and that it is not for me to make that decision.

Every week I so look forward to being with these children. I love each and every one of them.

The principal of the school has told me many times how much she appreciates everything I am doing for these children. She makes me feel so good about myself.

Recently, the 6th graders had a spelling bee. There were 12 of the best 6th graders taking part. It was a written spelling bee, not a verbal one. I was asked to be the judge. It was such a rewarding experience for me.

Recently, I was in the teachers' lounge making myself a cup of tea. One of the children with whom I work had come in asking for something to eat. She is a Russian immigrant and a very bright child. I learned that she comes from a low income family. It hurt me so much to learn that one of the children I am working with was so hungry. I told her to come with me to the room where I sit and I would give her my sandwich. But she was very embarrassed and told me that one of the other teachers would give her something to eat. Then I realized that there are several children in that school who are hungry and come to school without food, so I started bringing three or four sandwiches with me each time which I put in the refrigerator in the teachers' lounge for the hungry children. I spoke to the school principal about this to make sure it was ok with her. She told me that I was an angel sent to that school. You can't imagine how sad it is to see these children with no food. It just tore my heart. I wish there were more that I could do for them, but unfortunately since I am not working and have no source of income, I cannot do more than what I am doing now.

We had a meeting recently at the Ministry of Education in Haifa with the head of the English department for all the schools in the north. The meeting was to discuss how the volunteers in the Krayot and Haifa are doing in the various schools, and to bring up any problems or questions that they may have. I made a suggestion about how to get more volunteers to help out in the schools: -if each of the present volunteers has just one friend whom they think might be interested in becoming a volunteer tutor but who is not sure what is expected nor what needs to done, that the volunteer bring this friend to the school for one day to see what he/she does. This may have a very strong influence on the friend who may decide to become a volunteer as well. I myself have two friends who are willing to come with me to see what I do with my children. I am sure that once they see for themselves what I do with my children, and the relationship I have with them, both will also decide to become volunteer tutors. This idea should be tried by ESRA in all the various branches. You just might get lucky and end up with a lot more volunteers. 



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Wednesday, 07 June 2023

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