"Uniting an older adult with a child to provide literacy tutoring is my calling."

Phil Waters
Generations Incorporated
Boston, MA

 

Uniting an older adult with a child to provide literacy tutoring is her calling

The threads of service and education have been woven throughout my entire life. As a native of New York City and an only child, education, a strong work ethic and service to your community was instilled early in my life.

My parents migrated from the South to New York City in the 1940s to find a better way of life. Having little education themselves, they always encouraged me to do well in school and serve in our local Church. The Church is where I was mentored, guided and supported.

In the 1960s I was among the first wave of African-American employees hired at Verizon (formerly New York Telephone.) I took a number of college courses, gradually progressing through the ranks from mail clerk to management. I wanted my daughter to know the importance of education as a path to success so I finally completed my Bachelor’s/Master’s degree and retired, all in the same year. My desire to work in higher education led me to a second career as a recruiter for Lesley University, where I provided support to prospective students.

After my second retirement, my eagerness to serve my community and a new interest in educating children led me to Generations Incorporated. A friend mentioned that she was serving as a tutor in the Boston public schools. The concept of uniting an older adult with a child to provide literacy tutoring was just the kind of volunteer program I was looking for. As I began serving at the MLK School in Dorchester, I began to really understand how much the children needed our support to increase their reading level. It’s great to be needed. It’s great to serve!

My time as a tutor led me to observe the need for professional, patient and committed volunteers working with our students. As team leader, I had the opportunity to serve with a wonderful group of volunteers with many of these qualities.

Having great volunteers is the backbone of Generations Incorporated. Without strong volunteers, the organization would falter. Given my professional background, I am proud to say that I am now on staff at GI, working with the team to recruit quality volunteers for the AARP Experience Corps program and support the volunteers’ training needs.

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