Queyonna sat down with Diedre Deering and her learner, Malvin Brooks, during one of their tutoring sessions in the Literacy Center's tutor library. Diedre is the Executive Assistant at the Literacy Center, and she and Malvin have been meeting together since May 2017.
What did those first meetings look like?
Malvin and I met for the first time at the Van Belkum library branch. For the first couple of weeks, we just got to know each other. From the very beginning, I was impressed at Malvin's dedication. He is so faithful about doing his homework and always shows up for tutoring even though he works two jobs.
What was your proudest moment as a tutor?
I would say my proudest moment was when Malvin received his score on the second [reading] test he took after we started working together. He had a significant jump in score on that second test, and it showed that everything we'd been working on was helping him improve.
How has tutoring impacted you?
I'm most impacted by being exposed to different perspectives and backgrounds. My first learner was from Mexico, and she taught me a lot about her culture. I've learned from Malvin the same way. He's shared with me really interesting stories about growing up in Grand Rapids and Kentwood.
What were fears you had before tutoring? Did they become true?
Getting to know someone new is always a bit scary. However, Malvin has a great personality, an infectious laugh, and is so driven to succeed, so it’s pretty easy to like him. I showed him pictures of my family, and he shared his family history with me. We connected quickly after that!
And what's Malvin's take on all of this?
Malvin reports that tutoring has changed how he feels about himself. “Every time you turn on the TV there is something you are reading. You turn around and go to work, and you have to look at the screens and read. I now have a better understanding of words, and it’s easier to follow along.”
Are you interested in tutoring? Learn more at a brief volunteer orientation. Sign up online at www.literacycenterwm.org/volunteer or call (616) 459-5151.