22 Oct Local Volunteer shortlisted for volunteer of the year award
Primary School teacher and English Co-ordinator at St.Mary’s School in Dunmow, Essex – She was in this position for 21 years and then spent 2 years running and promoting the School Library.
She is now retired to support her 4 daughters with her 7 grandchildren but misses being a teacher and being involved in a school.
Why did she become a volunteer?
She is passionate about children’s literacy, hugely misses the school environment and being involved and helping children especially reading as she was English Coordinator at her school. She saw a leaflet in her local supermarket about Schoolreaders and jumped at the opportunity to help with children literacy again and be involved in a local school.
She has now been volunteering for 3 years at Katherine Semar school in Saffron Walden
Has she noticed the children you work with progressing with their reading?
She works on a one on one basis and in a weekly group with children in the school and gets great pleasure out of reading to them and sharing her love of books.
The children she works with as a volunteer are often struggling with literacy issues and over the 6 month period she works with them she has seen so many children progressing and changing their whole perception of reading and books generally.Most children aren’t engaged or interested at first and after a few months they are excited for their sessions and have a real interest and love for reading and books.
She has even taken in her own picture books to keep the children engaged as she has a collection of American books which aren’t available in the UK so are always a new story for the children to read or listen to.
What would she say to others considering volunteering?
She finds it hugely rewarding as you get to see first hand the impact you can make with the children even in just a 20 minute weekly session. Over the weeks you really get to know the children and build a relationship with and watch them progress with your help,
That valuable one on one time is so important to the children and hugely helps the teachers who simply don’t have the time to give each child this time.
Since lockdown there is going to be so much more need for volunteers from schools as so many children will be further behind with literacy.
Favourite children’s authors
Her favourite children’s author when growing up was Enid Blyton and now when reading to children it is Antony Brown