When the company I was working for adopted the West Broadway elementary school in providence, I signed up to be a mentor/math tutor. At the time, volunteer services were coordinated through an organization called Volunteers in Providence Schools (VIPS).
I was assigned a fourth grade student and was his mentor through grade six. At West Broaday, something like 87% of the families were living below the poverty line, and I was able to observe the effects of poverty on education first hand. One of the first things my student told me was that he liked school because it was safe there.
The faculty and staff at West Broadway were amazing. In many families, both parents had to work, and many had to leave for work well before school started. The school made arrangements for parents to drop children off as early as 7:30 and to have them supervised until the start of school.
My student had the same teacher in fifth and sixth grade. She inherited a class that was two years behind grade level in reading, and when they left at the end of sixth grade, the class was reading at grade level.
His fourth grade class did a mock trial and I got to play the victim. I had fallen asleep and the defendant had allegedly given me a mohawk while I was sleeping (!).
In 1992 (or maybe 1993?), I was one of eight VIPS volunteers recognized with a National Association of Partners in Education (NAPE) award nomination.
I also tutored students at Classical High School preparing for the AP calculus exam.