"When I think about the impact I have made at Jason Lee Middle Mchool, I refer back to the relationships I have formed with the middle school students. The Bobcat Learning Center, Jason Lee’s after school program, definitely has its challenges. If I were volunteering at the middle school three years ago, my 19-year old self would see a lot of chaos. I would see students unwilling to engage in enrichment activities, volunteers goading students to start their homework, and staff members reprimanding students for their behavior. At the end of the day, my 19-year old self would question his purpose as a tutor, whereas my present-day self would feel a sense of satisfaction.
"In order for students to be successful at the Learning Center, the goal for our program is to provide a safe space for students to receive emotional and academic support. More importantly, the success stories come from the connections we form with the students we serve. “Tamara,” (her name has been changed to protect confidentiality) a seventh grader at Jason Lee Middle School, is a student who prefers to watch YouTube videos and hang out with her friends at the Learning Center. Tamara has attended my leadership enrichment class since the start of the school year. Although she loves to participate and encourage others to participate in class activities, her main challenge with school is her ability to process information. She often feels discouraged with homework when she puts in the effort, yet does not receive the grade she feels she deserves. When I tutor Tamara one-on-one, I am aware of her need to socialize. For Tamara, practicing math problems for an entire hour can lead to frustration, so I make sure I give her time to take breaks and to chat with friends. After a 5-10 minute break, we are back to school work and she is refreshed and focused. At the end of the day, I am really proud of Tamara. Without the Learning Center, Tamara would not have the space, nor the academic and emotional support she needs to maintain an above average GPA.
"All in all, the best part about my year has been the relationships I have formed with the students at Jason Lee Middle School and biggest lesson I have learned working at Trinity Presbyterian Church and Jason Lee Middle School is that significant learning cannot happen without a significant relationship.
- Kyle Lee is in his first year as AmeriCorps at Trinity through our partnership with the Urban Leaders in Training program at the Northwest Leadership Foundation.