Facilitator Shout Out – Kyra Giles, Union Settlement
Kyra Giles has been coordinating the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program in New York City for three school years. She truly believes having caring older adult volunteers reading is the best part of the program. She has watched as tutors become real personal cheerleaders for students; helping them develop a real love for books. Kyra commented,
“It’s so rewarding seeing a student’s self-confidence increase which many times paves the way for academic reading success. The students and schools in East Harlem need the extra support from community volunteers.”
When asked what she missed most about not being in the school district or with tutors, Kyra told us she missed the little things like being greeted by school safety officers, principals requesting more volunteers and the students’ joy whenever they share their work. She said she even misses hearing books like “Pete the Cat” and “No David” being read over and over again. She also mentioned this very important fact, “Schools are a safe place in our community for children. Many children in East Harlem depend on the comfort of school…they need the meals, activities, and structure.”
Her message for tutors who miss volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic:
Volunteers reading tutors will be needed more than ever come fall. It really will take a village to help support students both socially and academically. Many students will be in need of special 1-on-1 attention and Oasis tutors will be great pillars for those students and schools.
Kyra had this suggestion for tutors while they wait to return to school:
Over the summer I suggest you incorporate mindful activities into your daily routines. Journaling, yoga, listening to calming music are all great ways to help us stay grounded during uncertain times. We don’t know what volunteering will look like when September comes but we do want to be able to model healthy coping skills for our students. So practice plenty of self-care during the summer months because we will have to exercise patience, flexibility, understanding more than ever.