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Volunteer Spotlight: Phyllis McLaurin
January’s Volunteer Spotlight features Phyllis McLaurin, a 6 year Reading Friend at Magnolia Woods Elementary.
After retiring from banking, Phyllis heard about VIPS from a friend and felt that this was the perfect opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. Realizing that she not only had the ability but the time to commit to tutor a child once a week, Phyllis decided to sign on as a Reading Friend. Thinking back on the start of her volunteer experience, Phyllis said “I remember my very first child. It was exciting to see how she progressed from picture books, to compound words, to using expression when she reads. Now she loves books. It doesn’t take long to teach others to love books!”
Due to her volunteer experience, Phyllis is witnessing a transformation in her current Reading Friend, Cristal. “Not only have we been building mutual respect through this, but we’re working on self-esteem as well. Learning to read and comprehend gives a child so much self-esteem that they become confident individuals, not just smart kids. Hopefully once these kids grow up, they’ll want to make a difference in their own kid’s lives or other kid’s lives.”
Phyllis soon realized that it’s not just solely the tutoring that makes the VIPS program so impactful, but it is the combination of tutoring along with encouragement that makes the difference. “A positive comment from a complete stranger saying that they believe in them shows a child just how much they care by simply taking the time to visit them at school. Every day, I pray to God asking him to make me an angel in someone’s life and overall, I’ve come to understand that you can make a difference in a person’s life just by being in that person’s life”