Three years ago, Berte Schachter, a retired business librarian and researcher, saw an ad for Reading Partners and something clicked for her. Her parents were immigrants, and reading had been vital to the advancement of her family.
“I can remember my Dad working six days at a supermarket, coming home and dedicating a few hours a week for us to read together. I still cherish those memories.”
For Schachter, joining Reading Partners was an opportunity to help others and share her love of reading. Each year, she enjoys meeting a new child and sharpening her skills. She reflects, “In my first year, I focused on learning different tutoring techniques and strategies. The curriculum is scripted and easy to follow.” Schachter adores all of her students, but she recalls one particular student who needed a confidence boost. “We worked together to tackle tough words, and at the end of the year she felt more confident.”
Reading Partners is clearly excellent for students, but it is also great for volunteers. “I don’t have any kids in my life, so it’s fun to be around them,” Schachter states. “You get to a certain place in your life where you have enough clothes, and you have gone on enough trips. This experience reminds you that your stay on the planet should not be focused on one’s self, it’s about the future.”
Passion, purpose and a belief in service and helping others drove Schachter to commit her time to children in a local elementary school. This year, she and another volunteer are dedicating a few extra hours a month to share their experiences with local senior centers and older adult organizations in the hope of promoting intergenerational volunteerism.
When Schachter talks to groups about the volunteer opportunity with Reading Partners, she says, “You are setting an example for students and you never know where that will go. Maybe you will open a window for a them. I feel fortunate to be a part of this program.”