The Rewards of Volunteering – Bayshore Elementary – Manatee YMCA, Bradenton

I was raised in a very small community where most people did not use social services.   There was much pride, I suppose, in not using any type of government aid, and a social stigma if you did.  As a result we helped each other.  As children coming home from school my brother and I had housecalls.  We visited older people every single day and helped them with chores they were unable to do.

This inner value of helping people has remained with me throughout my life.  On a personal level I try and do as much good as I can, where and when I am able.  

I am not at all financially well off, but I consider myself very fortunate in every other way.  Because I am not able to give large financial donations,  I CAN and DO give of my time, which gives me a rich measure of satisfaction with life.  The internal rewards are huge. My emotional health is maintained at a positive level, and statistics bear out that even the physical health of those who volunteer is increased.  

The Y-Reads program taps into some of my other personal values as well.  I love learning, and I love children.  Working with kindergarten children is absolutely delightful.  These little ones are always happy and at an age of wonder about the world around them. It is a joy to work with them.

To be able to instill a love of learning and to make it fun for each of them is extremely fullfilling.  To watch these little ones smile as they embrace their successes is a huge, huge reward.  Further, to realize that a good foundation for motivation and future learning successes is being set up is another wonderful heart warmer for me.  Not only is this a help in the educational community right now, but these little ones are the future of our world.  

My own learning curve is constantly in growth as well as I observe and try to analyze what each child needs for progress and success, athen to use my skills and the resources provided to reach these youngsters on their individual  levels.   

I have been very happy to be in a position to help such a rewarding venture as the Y-reads program.  

Cynthia Thayer

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