National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.
Since 1966, Boston Partners in Education has been mobilizing volunteers to serve as academic mentors to Boston Public Schools students who are at-risk of falling behind in their learning. Whether it’s helping a second-grader read her first chapter book, or helping a 10th-grader pass the state assessments, all of our academic mentors share the culture of giving back. They believe in sharing themselves— lending their time and talents to strengthen our community and improve Boston’s future.
Kathy Strand is one academic mentor who goes above and beyond to serve her community. Rather than the minimum time commitment of one hour per week, Kathy has been consistently volunteering in Boston Public Schools for two, sometimes three, days per week. As an academic mentor in our Math Rules! Program, Kathy works with students to help build solid math skills at a young age so they will succeed in the subject as it becomes more difficult. At the same time, students build greater self-confidence and develop a love for the subject.
Kathy Strand works with a small group of students in 2008
Kathy began her volunteer experience with Boston Partners in 2006 at the now-closed Emerson School in Roxbury. She also volunteered in a second grade math class at the Blackstone Elementary School for one year before finding the perfect match at the Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown. Kathy has now been working the same teacher since 2010, and each year Ms. Fong requests to have Kathy return. “I consider her a co-teacher in my math class,” Ms. Fong said.
Kathy currently works with two small groups of students in a 5th grade class at Quincy Elementary
“Public education is the backbone of creating and perpetuating a civilized and educated society, and I am very grateful for Kathy to help me with this awesome responsibility,” said Ms. Fong. “ I am very honored that Kathy continues to give me and my students the precious gift of her time and dedication.”
When asked why she continues to volunteer year after year, Kathy said,“I’m interested in discovering where each student’s math attitudes and aptitudes are, and then encouraging and challenging as needed. This interest, along with the very welcoming and inclusive environment created by Ms. Fong, are the main reasons that I keep coming back to the Quincy School each year.”
When she’s not in the classroom, Kathy’s main job is as Mom to 5 1/2 year old Aaron. She also enjoys gardening, watching sporting events and movies and attending theatrical and musical performances. Thank you, Kathy Strand for helping to enhance the academic and personal growth of Boston’s public school students.
To become a volunteer academic mentor like Kathy, complete our online application form today!