Submitted by dsong on

Halsy is an AmeriCorps Senior volunteer with Experience Corps.

“AmeriCorps training prepared me to tutor elementary grade students struggling with reading and writing. The youngsters I worked with were all bilingual, but I am not. Because of this difference, we had valuable things to teach each other. This experience was one of my most fulfilling service moments over the years. The emotional reward to witness students gaining confidence and pride is indescribable.

After several weeks of meeting each student, we got to know one another quite well. I learned that many students don't have books to read other than their schoolbooks. Their families were restricted financially, and books were a luxury. I spoke with their teachers to discreetly confirm how many students were in this situation.

I was shocked to learn that school districts, no matter how underfunded, cannot offer children age-appropriate literature to own. So, I set out to help my students. I found out that the local public libraries regularly culled their shelves to make space for new publications. They directed me to a warehouse where the sympathetic managers allowed me to handpick a few hundred books of all genres for the school. With the principal and teachers, we distributed these books to the students. It was remarkable to see the hunger for learning.

Experience Corps and my service was a humbling moment. Since I don't have children of my own, I am very grateful to my mentees for enriching my life.”