As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s grace.
1 Peter 4:10
For nearly a decade, Germantown Presbyterian Church has committed their local missions efforts to education through a volunteer partnership with MAM.
These volunteers help MAM students with their homework and have been extremely flexible as the literacy program continues to evolve. Today, every volunteer is paired with a student, who they meet with weekly to work on homework or read aloud — an important piece of our literacy curriculum.
“I have learned that by really focusing on the needs of one child, I feel more connected,” says Lisa, a volunteer since 2013.
MAM students also experience a deeper connection through these one-on-one relationships. Chalice, neighborhood director at MAM Olivet, says, “Our kids cannot wait for their volunteers to come. I love to see the joy on the students’ faces when volunteers arrive.”
The role of caring adults in the life of a young person extends far beyond connection and companionship. According to Child Trends, a child having a mentor-like adult relationship is directly associated with an increase of positive outcomes, such as physical exercise, extracurricular activities, interest in learning new things, and volunteering. The research also highlights a decrease of negative outcomes, such as behavior issues, bullying, and feelings of sadness or depression.
We asked Lisa and Beth, volunteers since 2013, a few questions about their volunteer experience:
What is your favorite thing about volunteering at MAM?
Beth: Getting to know the kids.
Lisa: I love watching the staff interact with the kids. I’m always amazed by the patience they exhibit. They make me try to be better with all my relationships, not just with children. My second favorite thing is, of course, the students themselves. I also love watching my fellow church members during our time. Most of them I only see on Sunday mornings, and our shared experiences at MAM give a new, deeper, and richer flavor to our friendship.
How has your experience at MAM impacted you?
Beth: I think anytime you volunteer, you are changed for the better. In my case, it made me aware of the needs throughout the Memphis community.
Lisa shared in a previous blog post about a special memory with a student. A boy who she had connected with over the year asked her why she came to help with homework. Surprised by his question, she made up a quick answer. The boy responded, “I wish you would come everyday and just talk to me.” It was at that point that she knew the Lord had her just where He wanted her to be!
Thank you, Germantown Presbyterian Church, for your commitment to serving at MAM! Thank you for being flexible and transitioning as our literacy program has evolved. Thank you for not only reading with our students but also for sharing Jesus with them.
Are you interested in getting involved at MAM with your church or small group? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.