Preparing USA First Grade Children for Bright Futures

Since October 2016, volunteers from the Sathya Sai Centre of Detroit have been tutoring ten at-risk first grade children at the Harms Elementary School, in a disadvantaged, predominantly Hispanic neighbourhood. The children lack English-speaking adults at home to help them with homework. In addition, the parents often work several jobs to make ends meet, and the children are frequently left in the care of their older siblings or grandparents. Once a week, Sathya Sai volunteers spend an hour and a half with the children, reinforcing their reading and mathematics skills. They also serve the children snacks and treats. The volunteers create a loving and nurturing atmosphere, which motivates the students to work hard and succeed in their academic work. This loving support and encouragement has resulted in a marked improvement in the students’ motivation to learn, as well as their test scores. The volunteers have also received lessons in humility from the children. For example, despite their personal needs, the children often save up their snacks and treats to bring them home to their siblings. At the end of the school year, the parents organised a lunch in appreciation of the volunteers. At this event, the students’ eyes shone with pride as they introduced their tutors to their parents and siblings. Despite the language barrier, parents and tutors were still able to connect quickly due to their common bond of love for the children.