At the beginning of this school year I decided to sign up to do something I have been wanting to do for the past 3 or 4 years, tutor at Lester Elementary School. Lester is located in our neighborhood and is a K-8 school. Thanks to my friend Joanie who has been tutoring for a long time at Lester it was easy to jump right in and get started.
I have been going for about 5 weeks now and I can honestly say it is one of my favorite things I do each week. I go each Friday to Mrs. Allen's room and pick up Eugene and we go to the tutoring room for about 30-45 minutes. He is all smiles when I pick him up. He is in Sr K and we work on his letters, numbers, writing his name but most importantly we just hang and get to know each other. I know he likes motorcycles, fruit punch, and playing outside. A few weeks ago when my boys were out of school I took them to meet Eugene. They read to him and played a game. Mrs. Allen says Eugene still talks about them.
The past two weeks I have taken snack to the class. One week I took raisins and pretzels and fruit punch. Today Mrs. Allen told me that the next Monday after I had brought snack that there was an extra box of raisins left and she let Eugene take them to lunch with him. She went on to say that he came back to the class room with the empty box. "Eugene, you can throw that box away now, " Mrs. Allen said. Eugene looked up at her and grinned and said, "No ma'am, my special friend brought it and I want to take it home and show my brothers and sisters." He carried that box around for a week.
A box of raisins, Kroger generic brand at that, nothing special but it made Eugene feel valued and cared about. When I first started tutoring Joanie said, this is a little bit about the tutoring and a whole lot about the relationship. I don't know what Eugene will grow up to be, he lives in one of the worst apartment complexes in our neighborhood. I don't know if Eugene will remember his letters or numbers the next time I meet with him, I don't know if he will even make it through school, sadly a lot of kids in our neighborhood drop out. But what I do know is that Eugene is created by God, loved by Him and each week that I spend with him I am going to show him his value in my eyes and more importantly in the eyes of God, even if it is just through a box of raisins.
"He found him in a desert land, in a place of horror and vast wilderness: he led him about, and taught him, and he kept him as the apple of his eye." Deuteronomy 32:10