Charles and Pat Del Pino served with us as tutors and Thursday readers for over 5 years. They attended most of our events and were always reliable. I asked them a few questions about their experience with us. Click the link to see their interview.
Why did you start volunteering with STARS?
Charles: ” I had been an elementary public school teacher for 37 years and had co-led a small tutoring and homework program for 8 years. I wanted to serve the Lord and help to make a difference in the lives of others in some way.
Pat: “I wanted to be useful after retiring and had prior experience in a church-based tutoring program. I wanted to be able to help kids spiritually and as well as academically.”
What did you learn from your time with STARS?
Charles: “I’ve become aware of the hardships that some of our children and families deal with.”
Pat: “Like Charles, I’ve learned that some of our children and their families deal with very difficult life situations and that at the same time they have a strong sense of family which sustains them. The children can be very caring – for example helping me get through a crowd with the walker or carrying something for me.”
How were you blessed while serving with STARS?
Charles: “I’m blessed with the knowledge that my first STARS student has continued in the program for these several years, even though the two of us experienced some conflicts. I’m also blessed with the knowledge that the child who I helped for four years has become a strong and engaged student and is doing well in school.”
Pat: “Seeing students grow and mature physically, academically and even spiritually has been a blessing – especially when they take pride in their accomplishments. One student I’ve worked with lacks confidence in her abilities and it’s a joy to see her smile when she ‘gets’ something.”
If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?
Pat and Charles: “We wish we had made more of an effort to know the families better.”
What advice do you have for the other tutors?
Charles: “Have a number of educational activities for kids to do when their school work is finished.”
Pat: “Praise your students whenever you can and don’t become frustrated with the short time you have with them – believe that you are making a difference in their lives, and fight any temptation to be judgmental about their families.”