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June 6, 2014

How Volunteering Reinvigorated my Career Path

In 2013, Christine became a Reading Partner for two students in New York, volunteering two hours of her time every Tuesday. In the midst of a job search, Christine turned to volunteering as a way to reinvigorate her career path.

photo2When I left my position as an associate for a corporate law firm in 2013, I found myself searching for a mission driven cause. My goal was to return to a career focused on breaking cycles of poverty and inequality. I knew that it might take some time to find the right job, so I decided not to wait for employment to start on my journey towards making a difference.

I found Reading Partners through Maris Goodstein, executive director of Reading Partners New York. Soon after, I started volunteering at Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx and was immediately impressed by the thoughtful construction of the curriculum and the ease of becoming a Reading Partner. I recognized quickly that Reading Partners’ team put a lot of effort into ensuring that volunteers feel prepared and capable to carry out the organization’s mission.

Becoming a Reading Partner.

During my first day, the Reading Partners team walked me through a personalized introduction to the curriculum plus a “shadow session,” which allowed me to observe the lessons in action. Once I started working with my students, I felt at ease following the lesson plans. Everything I needed during each session was provided; books, games, instructions, and materials.

Tuesdays quickly became my favorite day of the week because I was greeted with smiles from my students, Kayla and Laura. Volunteering with Reading Partners allowed me to give back in a way that uplifted and revitalized my perspective in the midst of my job search. Volunteering as a Reading Partner for Kayla and Laura helped me maintain the confidence and motivation I needed to follow through with finding my dream job.

Finding new ways to inspire and become inspired.

photo1As time progressed, the Reading Partners’ site coordinator at Hyde, Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti, presented other ways I could give back that utilized my skills and expertise. I jumped at the opportunity to learn how to use Prezi to prepare a presentation for an upcoming school event. The presentation focused on elevating community engagement and advocacy to motivate students’ family members to get involved with Reading Partners.

Now, the school year is winding down and I recently landed a great job that I am very excited about. I am so thankful to my students and to Reading Partners for providing me with a meaningful experience that helped me keep a positive and hopeful outlook through a pivotal time in my life.

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