Occasionally I get a bratty kid who I have to remind that "I did my math homework in 4th grade, you have to do yours too", but for the most part I leave feeling as though I helped some kid figure it out. I have become the volunteer who will nearly beg the high school kids to help them with their math homework, or get a shit-eating grin from a coordinator when I walk in as they are struggling to help someone with chemistry. Somehow, last year I became a regular mentor to J, a junior in high school who was struggling with US History. Despite history not being my forte, we got into a good rhythm and her grade improved drastically.
This year, we work on all of her classes, and I have finally convinced her that I am awesome at explaining math and we should have done THAT more last year.
Tonight, J announced she had gotten into 4 colleges. She is going to college! Last year, in a darkish moment last year she said "well, if I don't get into college, I'll join the Air Force." I faked being supportive, but I was scared for her. Coming from a low income family and with her not so great grades, I worried she would end up in the Air Force and not at community college. Recounting this story tonight I started to tear up. I'm so proud of her and so excited.
I never realized how important volunteering was to my mental health recovery, until I was so happy for her I could cry .