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March 30, 2020

Volunteering with Reading Partners teaches patience and prepares high-schooler to dream big

In honor of Women’s History Month, Makayla Melton, a ninth-grader at KIPP Tulsa University Prep, shares about her experience as a weekly tutor and the importance of being a positive female role model for her student. 

Makayla tutors every week at Clinton West Elementary, which is a short walk from her own campus high school campus, KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School. She admits that she first became interested in Reading Partners because she thought it was a book club. “But then once I got here, and we actually did the lesson, I thought it was really cool and I decided to stay!” said Makayla.

Since getting started in Fall 2019, Makayla has fallen in love with the program and sees the importance of empowering students younger than her with the literacy skills needed to be successful. She says her favorite part about Reading Partners is when her student completes a lesson by reading a story back to her, something that she says highlights the progress being made. 

“I’ve learned that teaching is not just something you can rush through. It’s something you have to be patient with in order for the students to actually understand,” Makayla says. 

Makalaya acknowledges her grandma as her biggest cheerleader and greatest role model, because she has her own view on the world and doesn’t let anybody change it. “Women are powerful people, and I feel like if a kid has a powerful role model then they will know nothing will stop them and whatever they dream they can do, they can do it,” says Makayla. 

Makayla’s ninth grade reading instructor at KIPP, Sarah Seekins, tells us that she has really loved watching Makayla blossom this year, and she credits her increased confidence to the hours she has put in serving as a tutor with Reading Partners. “I think volunteering helps people see the light in themselves,” says Sarah, a former AmeriCorps site coordinator with Reading Partners Tulsa.

For this high school student, the future is bright. Makayla plans to pursue a career in journalism or cosmetology. Regardless of what lies ahead, she tells us that “volunteering with Reading Partners is a beautiful way to help the community and it looks great on a college application!”

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