Editor’s note: In the spirit of our spring Nonprofit Issue, we reached out to volunteers from several local nonprofit organizations, asking them to reflect on what inspired them to begin their work and the impact it has had on both the community and themselves.
In the fall of 2012, I was helping out in a math class at my son’s middle school. One student — very bright but behind in math — needed some extra assistance. This was an OpenDoors student whom I started working with after school.
So began my “tutoring career” with OpenDoors. Since then, I have assisted many students in math and science, working to catch them up or keep them from falling behind. Some I only tutor for a session or two to help with a project or prepare for a test, while others I have worked with for years.
Along with tutoring, I have helped with transportation to soccer practice and assisted with career planning. Occasionally, I am called upon to answer medical questions (tapping into my usual work life as a general internist). Last year, I even taught a lifestyle medicine course for some of the teens involved in OpenDoors.
Tutoring is personally satisfying. I relish that moment when a concept becomes clear and I can watch understanding dawn. Seeing these young people gain confidence, complete courses, pass tests and ultimately graduate from high school, or even college, gives me great joy and I am proud to be contributing to OpenDoors’ work to eliminate the race-based achievement gaps for our local students.
For more on OpenDoors, visit opendoorsasheville.org.