Volunteer Stories: Steven

“I’ve noticed that mentees who come back for a second or third session begin to love reading.”

Volunteering for Niteo is rewarding and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a reading mentor.

Initially, I chose to volunteer with Niteo because I needed experience working with school-age children for a Bachelor of Education application. I continue volunteering for Niteo because I see the value of the program and its ability to acclimate newcomers to Canada through literacy.

Participating now in my third session I’ve noticed that mentees who come back for a second or third session begin to love reading. The prizes the kids receive for their reading charts are nice and the kids certainly enjoy that aspect of the program but the veterans of the program seem to like reading for their own enjoyment and not simply for a reward.

Moreover, kids who return to the program, and I suspect this is due to the sense of community Antonia is able to foster, become far more engaged during circle time and are eager to share with the group. As mentors, circle time is especially important. Families share their traditions and experiences, their food and music, and their past times with us. Indeed it is a brilliant way to learn about other cultures but it is also a great way to gain perspective on the Canadian way of life.

With my busy work schedule, 2 hours a week is a manageable commitment and I look forward to reading club every week. Honestly, the two hours go by so fast that it’s hard to believe sometimes.

Retrospectively, volunteering for Niteo has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I encourage others to get involved.

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