In order to complete some volunteer work credit for high school graduation, I found some opportunities for high school students with decent math skills and love for teaching to work as volunteers at local libraries to teach math to students from kindergarten through 8th grade. September of 2019 is when I first became a tutor of Math Matters and joined their team. From being just a normal tutor at University Park Library to an online co-director, from just fulfilling graduation criteria to becoming a truly passionate tutor, things have changed a lot in the past two years. The life-changing experience I had being a member of the Math Matters team is something I would not trade for the world.
Before the pandemic, on every Thursday afternoon, my mother would drive my brother and I to the Orange county library at El Toro, where a pair of elementary twins were waiting for us. This was when I began my routine as a one on one tutor and my passion for volunteering began. Throughout my role as a tutor, one particular event stands out to me. I remember that one time my brother and I had to cancel school events to help at Foothill Ranch Library because that day was short on tutors. Although this is a minor event, this helped me realize how much tutoring means to me, not as a duty or job, but passion. Starting from December of 2020, Math Matters contacted the new Mesa Verde library, and asked me to take a new group of tutors and to carry out a new math tutoring session there. This was indeed a challenge for me. For the past few months of experience, my role was only a team player rather than somewhat of a leader. The number of students when I just started was very discouraging. To find a solution, my team members and I made several posters, and with the help from the librarian, we distributed them in local schools around the library. Thankfully, after four difficult weeks, new students finally began to come.
However, things changed a lot after the pandemic outbreak began. We quickly adjusted and switched to online teaching using Zoom. Among all the students, I met Andy, a little boy who couldn’t find interest in math. I was able to get along very well with him. From the beginning of randomly assigning students, Andy has gradually become my regular student. Later, Andy’s mother sent a nice letter to Math Matters, expressing how much Andy enjoyed working with me and hoping that I can teach him regularly throughout the summer. It really was an encouraging moment and I am very proud of myself. I felt my work was being acknowledged and recognized. To date, Andy is still my regular student now. Ever since I joined the team, volunteering has become a huge part of my life. Within the past years, tutoring has become more than just community service for me.
I really appreciate Math Matters for giving me the opportunities to grow as a leader at Mesa Verde Library and as an online Co-director. The skills I learned during the process include effective communication, problem solving, and how to handle greater responsibilities. This unreplaceable experience was an important step in my lifetime.
The first time I participated in volunteer work was when I was in middle school. The school organized a summer volunteer event in Africa. It was a unique experience to be in a completely strange environment trying to communicate with kids who don't speak the same language as me. We taught the children music, drawing, and Chinese. In high school, I also volunteered in a kindergarten as a teacher assistant. I helped the teacher check the kid’s work. I read stories to the kids. I really enjoyed the time with the kindergarten kids. Later in my high school year, I volunteered in multiple school events such as band performance, student orientations and holiday events. I felt that my life and living conditions are much better than a lot of kids. Therefore, I wanted to participate in volunteer service because I wanted to contribute to society. After having a few volunteer experiences, I found out that I really enjoy helping others and voluntarily contributing personal time without any monetary or material rewards. Another reason is that participating in volunteer work allows me to learn about the stories of different people. It also allows me to look at people and issues from a new and different perspective. It’s a very valuable self-improvement experience that can be gained from volunteer activities. Overall, I think that volunteering is a service that everyone should participate in because it can give back to society and enhance self-worth.