I had the roles of reading tutor and program coordinator with the Learning Buddies Network (LBN) from 2013 to 2014 and 2017. Initially, I was drawn to this organization because it combined two of my passions, working one-on-one with children and improving childhood literacy. Now we’ve made it a family affair: my brother, Michael (see Michael’s story here), had started with me and has become an admirable, experienced program coordinator and my sister, Karen, started helping out as a reading tutor.

As a tutor, my fondest experience was with my first buddy at David Lloyd Elementary. Initially, I didn’t have a good “first impression”, as he wanted a tutor like my brother instead. I, being an older sister to two, spent the next many weeks trying to be the “coolest”, older sister to him. We started to build rapport and by the end of the term, he wanted me to be with him for the next term! On top of this, I was amazed how he became more confident and diligent with the reading exercises. LBN is a great place to build relationships with children in a role similar to a Big Brother or Big Sister and tailor the curriculum to their learning abilities.

LBN also had an impact on my professional development. As a coordinator, I had the opportunity to mentor a newer coordinator during a program that we managed. This leadership skill is transferable to a professional setting, and helped me strengthen my management and mentorship abilities in project management and team leading in my professional field of clinical research. Because of all of the positive experiences, I have strongly recommended LBN to many of my friends and colleagues at work.

Thanks for letting me share my experience!

by: Jennifer Lee