After retirement, Gary was searching for something that would inspire him to get up each morning. He found this inspiration in United Way of Lake County’s Reading Success Program.
In October 2013, Gary began volunteering weekly as a Reading Success Tutor. Gary says “I feel a great sense of pride when I’m finished with a tutoring session. I feel like I’m glowing inside. I love the idea that I can make a positive difference in a child’s life.”
Gary is proud to share his most rewarding moment as a Reading Success Tutor. “Last year one of my students was really struggling with reading and I could tell she didn’t enjoy reading. But I found out from her teacher that she loved art.” So Gary asked the student to choose a book she liked and draw pictures of the characters and draw the sequence of the plot. The following week the student chased Gary down the hall before class started. “She was so excited to show me what she had drawn. She looked at me and said, ‘I used to hate reading, but now I love it!’”
This year, Gary is working with two students at Clearview Elementary School. Each week he visits the third grade classroom and works one on one with each of the students for 25 minutes. They work together to improve reading skills and Gary provides encouragement to help build confidence. “Sometimes a little bit of encouragement can go a long way to help a child.”
Gary can see the progress in the students he works with. “Children are our future. They need support, confidence, advocacy, and someone to believe in them. Reading Success offers students the opportunity to grow and encourages them to reach their potential.”