Volunteer Profile: Sandy Kerner

We are very lucky to have so many outstanding volunteers who work with our Pioneer Scholars on a weekly basis. As each child has a unique learning style, a our volunteers can embrace that style and teach in a way he or she fully understands, often unlocking previous learning challenges. The hour and 15 minutes volunteers are able to work with a student one-on-one has a great impact on their academic growth and confidence as a student. Sandy Kerner is one of our most dedicated volunteers and is the featured profile for this semester’s Volunteer Spotlight.  As always, thanks for all that you do Sandy!

How long have you been a  volunteer at the Emily K Center?

I began volunteering at the Emily K Center in August, 2009, so I am now in my 3rd semester.

What inspired you to start volunteering at the Emily K Center?

I lost my job, as a Research Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline, in October 2007, and began the long climb back to being a productive person. Rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself,   I decided I wanted to give back to my community, and to help make a positive change in a child’s life.  I knew that the Emily K existed, because I live in Durham, so I decided to find out more about the EKC, and the more I learned, the more I knew this was the place I wanted to volunteer!  My father was a public school teacher for 35 years, so education has always been a very important part of my life.  I truly believe that education can set you free!

What are some of your favorite Emily K Center memories?

One of my favorite memories is from the volunteer appreciation ceremony that took place last May.  My kids had made me the sweetest card, with their picture on the front, and then they all thanked me for being their tutor. After the ceremony ended, they all piled onto my lap, and Miss Lauren captured that special moment in a picture, that I will treasure forever!!  Another favorite memory came when I was helping at the Art table, last Spring.  I brought lots of fun crafty stuff, and helped the kids make Mother’s Day cards!!  We all had a great time, and the kids had a special card to take home to give their Moms!

How has volunteering at the Emily K Center impacted you personally?

The time I spend at the EKC is the best part of my week!  I have a computer home-based job now, but it just helps pay the bills.  My true sense of accomplishment and fulfillment comes each time I am tutoring at the EKC.  The children probably don’t know this, but I feel like what they are giving me is far more valuable than what I am giving them!! Volunteering at the EKC has truly been a wonderful experience for me.

Academics. Character. Leadership.

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