Volunteer Tutor Profile: Meet Succeeding by Reading Tutor Vilma Morales
By Eric Steckel | October 10, 2023
First-year tutor’s love of children helps a young Guatemalan girl learn to read
Succeeding by Reading tutor Vilma Morales loves working with kids. She has been doing it for years. After her volunteer role with a preschool program vanished due to COVID, she discovered Children Rising.
Vilma began working with Jennifer last year at Markham Elementary School. Jennifer came to the United States from Guatemala three years ago. “She loved the fact that I spoke Spanish and she opened up a lot. Jennifer told me about herself and her family, and she picked things up really quickly,” Vilma said.
Like many tutors, Vilma shared an “Aha moment.” Jennifer started in the Pre-K Orange Zone. When she successfully moved on to the Yellow Zone, she already knew nearly all of the vocabulary words in the new zone. “I thought to myself, ‘How does she know all the words? Did we underestimate her or what? How is that possible?’ She made it through the Yellow and Green Zones and into the Purple Zone. I was so impressed with her.”
“I kinda help and guide them, answer questions when they’re stuck, but they did the work. They did it themselves. They are super. I really enjoyed it. I just wanted to hug them!” – Vilma Morales
Vilma is modest about her role in Jennifer’s progress. “I didn’t feel like I did anything. I kinda help and guide them, answer questions when they’re stuck, but they did the work. They did it themselves. They are super. I really enjoyed it. I just wanted to hug them!”
That joy is certainly felt by the children she tutored. “The one-on-one relationship made them feel comfortable working with me, and opening up with me. I would ask, ‘How are you today?’ and they would always say, “Good,” or “I’m glad to be here,” always in a good mood.”
When I asked Vilma if she had anything to share with potential tutors, she replied, “Be patient with them. Have an understanding of their needs. Just be there for them, and help them in anything they need help in.”
We are grateful for Vilma and all of the dedicated tutors. Because of your unique skills and talents, children like Jennifer receive the support they need to become lifelong learners.