Mohammed Al-Noor, a volunteer at the Haynes Early Education Center in Roxbury, was presented the Pamela Civins Rookie of the Year award for his wholehearted commitment to our organization during his first year as an academic mentor. We’re excited to share his first-year mentoring story.
Mohammed’s drive to be a volunteer mentor started with a love of teaching and a passion for astrology. Told at a young age that he would never become a teacher because of his dyslexia, Mohammed eventually found a mentor — his drama teacher — who taught him a different lesson about his future – that he could be anything he wanted to be. This teacher sparked his love for theatre, staying with him after school to read scripts and plays, and Mohammed credits her for helping him get into the performing arts school Boston Arts Academy.
Looking to serve his love of teaching, Mohammed searched online for some volunteer opportunities that would get him experience in the classroom. “There must have been something in the stars,” he said, “because Boston Partners was a perfect fit.”
Mohammed spent his first year with Boston Partners as a volunteer mentoring two students at the Haynes Early Education Center in Roxbury, ages five and six years old, in literature. He assists them with reading, art projects, and participating in classroom groups. Instilling confidence in these children from an early age, Mohammed tries to pass on the most important lesson that was given to him by his mentor: you can be anything you want to be.
“Volunteering as a mentor through Boston Partners has provided me with a network of friends and a healthy environment that keeps me informed on what’s happening in education and in the city of Boston,” says Mohammed. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
When Mohammed says you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, he’s speaking from experience. Mohammed taught himself American Sign Language in high school and uses this as an example to motivate the children to learn something new. Mohammed described a time when he was signing to one of his students, and she was amazed that she could understand him: “I know what that means, it means you’ve got money!” she joked and rubbed her thumb and fingers together in a money-counting gesture.
Mohammed understands the importance of his presence in the classroom because he can relate to the students both academically and personally. He understands that these young kids may have to work through any number of academic, home life, or social challenges, and that sometimes the teachers in the classroom don’t have the bandwidth to engage all their students on that deeper level. But as a volunteer mentor, Mohammed knows that he can play that role and be a consistent source of support for the kids – academically, emotionally, and socially – no matter what. It’s for reasons like this that, if he was unable to afford public transportation one week, Mohammed would walk miles across the city to be in the classroom with his mentees.
“Volunteering as a mentor through Boston Partners has provided me with a network of friends and a healthy environment that keeps me informed on what’s happening in education and in the city of Boston,” he says. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”