Our volunteers come to us because they want to effect a positive change in Math perception. Change from Math = fear to Math = fun. To make this happen, volunteers sometimes have to pull rabbits out of hats, but it is worth it, because the end goal to make Math more kid friendly and approachable is achieved. By adding the fun element to Math, our volunteers are helping kids ace their curriculum. Their impact goes beyond that, though. They are creating positive Math memories for today’s kids, who will grow up and pass those to their kin.
Heather Warren is one of our volunteers who gets down on the field to make change where it most matters – in the classroom. Two years ago, Heather saw a call for volunteers and raised her hand like an eager student. She had already been teaching math to her son and volunteering in his elementary classroom. Helping with her son’s curriculum brought back pleasant memories she had formed during her math classes. She saw how a little help changed children’s perception of Math, and through Zeno, she was eager to carry that into the Martin Luther King Elementary, Seattle classroom. All she wanted was for the kids to overcome their fear of math and become adept at it. She thought to herself “Loving it would be okay, though!”
Toward the end of the previous school year, she assisted head teachers to bring kids of various skill levels up to speed. Some needed brushing up, some needed encouragement to participate, some were eager to learn more. Heather dissolved any inhibitions she encountered in fun ways, and challenged them when needed, using cards, pattern blocks and mental math games. She has returned to the classroom this school year, this time, bringing with her, the ‘Pizza Math’ game – a delectable approach to 3rd grade fractions, that had kept her students begging for more.
A parent of two herself, Heather lives in Issaquah and has her hands full with an elementary and middle schooler. But she does not let her commute or commitments stop her from volunteering her time. She explains to her own children how much her work at Zeno means to her, and how she is impacting the kids at Martin Luther King. With her family’s unanimous support and just 3-4 hours of classroom work a week, Heather is making a world of difference in these children’s Math memories.
Thank you, Heather, for inspiring our present and future volunteers with your enthusiasm and energy!
This week’s volunteer post is from Anusha Rao, Advisor for Volunteer Communications and Social Media. Anusha has been dabbling in the blog world for several years, she reviews children’s literature for Saffron Tree and writes about parenting joys at Talking Cranes. Last spring, her 6 year old came back from an Eastside Mathfest with a sparkle in his eyes, and Anusha knew right away that she wanted to be part of an organization that was impacting a positive change in math attitudes from the ground-up. She signed up for the position of Advisor for Volunteer Communications and Social Media, and she will be shining the spotlight on our volunteers and how their contribution makes our work possible!