Sunday, September 05, 2010

Mrs. Dwyer, Revisited

Instead of just including a link at the bottom of the post to past posts, there is one I think needs to be re-read because it is about an incredibly committed volunteer who changed the whole atmosphere of our school.  Here it is again: Mrs. Dwyer.  (The last paragraph is my favorite.)

I'm a little behind, but I wanted to share about our wonderful volunteer from last year, Kathy Dwyer. Kathy was working in the children's ministries department at my church and came to volunteer at my school. She was volunteering in a kindergarten class the year before (I think) and decided to help out in third grade last year.

Kathy started by reading with the kids and helping them with their practice tests. As she got to know the kids, I think she saw that they had a creative side that wanted to come out. Since we had really limited resources at school, she brought all the supplies for the projects. And these were GREAT projects. Painting wood shapes, making journals using cutouts from animal magazines and foam shapes, clay projects, Easter baskets with silk flowers and other decorations, St. Patrick's day projects, all sorts of fun things. They loved it because they got to be creative and didn't have to stick to only one piece of paper like they do when they're using very limited school supplies.

Then the snacks started! I forget the first snack, but the kids loved it and ate all the extras. Kathy saw that the kids were hungry and brought them all sorts of food that was much more healthy than most snacks they're used to. Granola bars, fruit bars, apples, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, milk, bottles of water (they loved those - I think they felt like adults with their bottled water).

Their responses showed that they appreciated the caring behind the gifts, and not just the crafts and food. They would ask me every week when Mrs. Dwyer was coming (except usually it was Mrs. Dryer or Mrs. Dwiler) and they'd get so excited when she'd come in. They would have loved doing crafts with anyone, but they just adored crafts with someone who loved them.

Their feelings were summed up by a comment from "Ray." Another kid asked why the milk in the cafeteria didn't taste as good as the milk that Mrs. Dwyer brought for snack. She was wondering if the cafeteria milk was expired (it wasn't). Ray said, "The milk Mrs. Dwyer brings us tastes better because Mrs. Dwyer loves us." It does not escape their notice for a minute when people truly care about them!

One year ago: He Ain't Supposed to Be in My Class

Four years ago: Sad.  Again.


Ruth said...

That's awesome. I've just started volunteering at a school, a big step for someone who's not a parent of a child there. My motivations haven't been overly quizzed though which is nice. As someone interested in education but not herself a teacher, I find there can be certain prejudices against me in some feilds but this school has been very welcoming. Schools have, for a long time, been boxes behind gates and it can be difficult for mindsets to change, but I believe that volunteers have so much to offer, it would be nice to see this idea embraced on a large scale.

B said...

I absolutely love the idea of volunteering at a school when you don't have a child there. I really strongly believe that we need to all take care of the kids in our community, so what better way? I'd love to hear about how that goes for you!