Once a Mentor, Always a Mentor | Friday Report from the Field

This week’s Report comes from the fearless team leader of the Comcast Team serving at the Howe School of Excellence, Primo Lasana.

The perception of City Year Team Leaders is that we never spend any time with students. Because we are not assigned to a classroom, the assumption is that we do not have any interactions with students. However, in a building filled with students it is quite hard to avoid the occasional conversation, high five, or impromptu tutoring session.

At Howe, our City Year room is located on the 4th floor, right in between the three 3rd grade classrooms. As I sit at my computer or travel the halls to visit my corps members, I see the 3rd grade classes constantly transitioning to and from class.
One afternoon, the 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Jacobsen, asked me if anyone from the City Year team could spare some time to help a few of her students with a Pen Pal assignment. These two students could not read or write as well as their classmates and required individual attention for an assignment like this, and she simply could not ignore the rest of the class to meet their needs.
I volunteered myself and my Program Manager, who happened to be in the building at the time, to help these two students. After reading and writing their letters that afternoon, one of the students took a liking to spending time with me. His teacher approached me later and asked me to come and check in on him from time to time so that he would have a mentor in the building, someone who he knew cared about his success.
I gladly accepted the role of mentor for this bubbly young student and at least once a week he comes bouncing down the halls to ask me to read a story with him, or help him with an assignment. Our relationship benefits the student, myself and his teacher. It has truly been a pleasure to get to know this bright young man and have the privilege of spending time with him.
I have spent time with many of our students at Howe, whether it is at City Year Homework Help, City Year Spring Break Camp, during morning greeting, passing in the hall or in the classroom. I recently started volunteering with a 3rd and 4th grade soccer program after school at Howe and look forward to growing many new relationships!
Primo Lasana is a second year corps member leading the Comcast Team at the Howe School of Excellence in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Primo is originally from Greenich Village, NY and is a graduate of CUNY Hunger College.
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