Our volunteer mentors from around the nation share some of their stories with us:
Lucille B. - 85 years old - Rochester, NY
Justin R. - 6 years old -New York City, NY
As a senior and a Great Grandparent this venture is a wonderful treat for me. My time with the children gives me the opportunity to be a storyteller.
I also became a listener of the children as they grew from just hearing me read the stories and gaining the confidence to read to me.
We both learned to be participators in a once or twice a week adventure.
I looked forward to meeting the children and hearing their thoughts about what the stories taught them.
We shared the area where I live, which is the country and the kind of home that I live in. Those questions came from the story of the three Little Pigs. They shared that they lived in the city, in a brick building.
I found that now that my family has grown up I have more time to share with other little ones. I do hope that the Grandmentor Program will continue
for the children and those of us that would love to share our time, in a productive way, with them.
Jackie S. - 68 years old –Boston, MA
Maeve O. - 6 years old -New York City, NY
A quick note to you to let you know how vital the reading program has been. I've done it for two years now, and am very much looking forward to beginning again this semester. I found it personally beneficial in connecting to young students, different from the high school students I taught for over
40 years. The joy of reading, the excitement of sharing interpretations of illustrations and talking about the various themes of the many stories were a very positive part of my reading day. I must also say that I have become familiarized with many stories I hadn't known before which I plan on sharing
at some point in the near future with my grandchild who is due at the end of January!
Last year, I had the good fortune of working with a delightful, attentive, focused and creative young child, Maeve. After a short time, I offered her the option of reading to me, and on many days she chose to do that, approaching new words with growing confidence and easily sharing her ideas about
what was going to happen in stories as well as discussing the possible themes. At other times, she asked me to read, but she was always attentive
and connected to the story.
I am very much looking forward to continuing the reading and feel it's a unique opportunity to work with young students, allowing each of us to see each other as well as the books we share. At the end of the day I am relieved to have the opportunity to volunteer without leaving my home, particularly on snowy winter New England days!
Bob G., 63 years of age - Manhattan, NY
Shailane J., 7 years of age - Brooklyn, NY
Three years ago my life had just gone through hitting a bottom where I didn’t think it was worth much to me, much less to anyone else. Among the many changes that I made in my life, at the time, was to learn how to use the computer. Through that program I was introduced to GRANDMENTOR and I have been active in the program for my 3rd year now. I can’t tell you how much this program has helped me with my self esteem and self worth and like I said, I didn’t think my life was worth much to me, much less to a child.
Last year my student’s name was Shailaine and I read to her every week through Skype. Each week I could see the joy on her face when I turned on my computer, she was always so happy to see me. On our last session Raquel surprised me and asked if I would like to meet her in person. I went to her school in Brooklyn and what a joy it was on that last day. I switched things up a bit and gave her the teacher’s version with the questions and answers and let her read to me. She loved it. Before I left I was able to get her some books she wanted from the school book fair to read over the summer and spoke to one of her teachers. He told me that her reading skills had improve more that any other student in the program and that she had improve 5 levels in reading. I said to him that the school must have a good program and he said yes, it was you reading to her one on one every week that made all the difference.
What a Blessing!!!
Gretchen U. - 80 years old - Sutter Creek, CA
Tania G. -6 years of age - New York City, NY
Kai’noa A.- 6 years of age -Oakland, CA
I first learned of the GrandMentor program through SeniorNet. As a retired junior high school teacher, I often look for ways to connect with children.
I'm new to Skype, but have learned how to use it as one of my daughters lives half the year in China, so we use Skype often. I've had the privilege of "working" with 2 children and have been able to adjust my schedule to be ready on their timetable. Both were interested in the stories and engaged enthusiastically to my guided questions. My experience with the primary grades has been limited, but the mentor guides gave me great ideas for encouraging the children to respond.
Marie K., 62 years of age, Manchester, NJ
Rashaun B., 7 years of age, Brooklyn, NY
A child whom the teachers referred to as a loner, who did not answer questions during class and who could not sit still. Indeed, the first session he disappeared under the desk. At the next session, I quickly engaged him with questions about the story pretending I had difficulty understanding the meaning. He quickly became my hero and became engaged and helped me. The student became the teacher. He read parts of the story and we asked questions of each other. The Principal of the school remarked how he changed. He ran to the reading session and at the end of the semester had moved up one reading grade level. I did not do this by myself but as a support with his teachers. But it was joyful to see him engaged!
Ollie K. - 79 years old - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Brianna C. -7 years of age – Brooklyn, NY
I became a volunteer in the GrandMentor program in the Spring of 2013. I was assigned to Brianna, an energetic and outgoing second grader from Brooklyn. She was originally from Santo Domingo and her first language was Spanish. Although her spoken English was very good, her reading comprehension was weak as she didn’t always understand the meaning of the words. As we read the stories together, we would discuss the meanings
of words with me explaining the English and then she would tell me about the folklore, music and celebrations of her homeland. While she was expanding her English vocabulary I was learning about the culture of Santo Domingo.
Ollie K. - 79 years old - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Katelyn C.- 6 years of age -Oakland, CA
I was assigned to a first grader in California, who was extremely shy and did not participate in class discussions. At first she would only respond with a yes or no to my questions as we read the stories but as time went on, she began to open up and by the end of the semester she was responding with complete sentences and even volunteered some of her ideas about the stories. Her mother was delighted with her progress and was very disappointed when she learned that the program would not continue.
As a mother, grandmother and teacher, I have always been thankful that I was able to share my love of reading with children and now that I am retired and the children and grandchildren are grown I find that I miss that experience. The GrandMentor Program has allowed me to once again share the delight of a good story with a child. I hope that schools and organizations will see the merit to both the retirees and the children and continue to support this great program.
Rosalie V. , 70 years of age, Manhattan, NY
Nathaniel C., 8 years of age, Manhattan, NY
The joy of reading to a young student is immeasurable and I cannot express the happiness it brought me each week to see such a young happy face looking forward to reading a story and expressing his thoughts - one particular student actually would draw a picture each time we read together -what a delight!!