April Volunteer of the Month & Volunteer Appreciation Week 2014

Brionna Pendleton is April’s Volunteer of the Month!  Brionna is an undergraduate studying biology and psychology at Temple University, and has been volunteering at YouthBuild Philly since November.  All of us at YouthBuild thank her for the 30 hours of tutoring and valuable service she’s provided at our school this year!  Below, Brionna reflects on her time at YouthBuild so far:

ImageI am genuinely happy that YouthBuild exists, not only for the students but for all of the teachers, tutors, and support staff. Tutoring at YouthBuild has been an amazing experience for me. YouthBuild is a place where so many of these students can escape other struggles and truly focus on bettering themselves. It is inspirational to hear some of their stories and how they have turned away from things that were once dragging them down. These students are trying to better themselves after so much that they have encountered in their short lives and it makes me want to become a better person in my own life.

I remember coming up the elevator and being greeted by Mr. Ricky and other teachers yelling, “IT’S SHOUT OUT DAY!” I was completely confused and just stood there dumbfounded. Shout outs were being handed out all over the place and I felt that it was a great way for the students to encourage each other and for them to be noticed for the great that they do. Later, I was helping at student with a science project. After we had been working for a while, he said “Thanks! You really helped me a lot. You definitely deserve a shout out,” and there he wrote me one and on it reads “for helping me :)”. I still have it hanging next to my desk.

I was working with an alumni student one day and she told me that she doesn’t usually like to be tutored because it is difficult for her to connect with others, but she told me that it was different with me. We talked and not just about strictly math and science, but about what’s hard for her, why she has difficulty, and what she thinks will help her do better. I think it was so meaningful to me because when I first sat down, she explained to me that usually she doesn’t like getting help, and by the time I was leaving, she wanted to schedule to be tutored by me again. I felt that I had not only helped her understand a concept in math, but also realize that it is okay to ask for help.”

Earlier this month, YouthBuild Philly celebrated National Volunteer Appreciation Week with a special breakfast for our volunteers, and an afterschool pizza party for tutors and students.  We are grateful every week of the year for the generous gifts of time and caring that our volunteers bring to YouthBuild, but we enjoyed having a special occasion to celebrate during Volunteer Appreciation Week!

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Interested in volunteering at YouthBuild Philly?  Learn more here. 

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