For the past four years, at least forty dedicated HPC mentors have been matched with Rothenberg’s current 4th and 5th grade students. Some of us started working with our students as 2nd graders. The concept is simple—meet with your designated student weekly, on a set day & time (around lunchtime) for 45 minutes in the media center. Each student has a folder with structured reading & math activities.
What actually happens at the table varies from week to week. Sometimes Bill & I have a focused, energetic learner. Some days an angry, apathetic child greets us. Some days not much reading or math is accomplished. The greatest gift we bring to the table as mentors is less about academic results, and more about patience (sometimes lots), compassion and love. Sometimes just showing up, week after week, is the small victory that helps cement a relationship which offers a bond of hope and confidence.
Bill has been coaching basketball for the past five years. Initially the 7th & 8th grades were housed at Rothenberg and boys and girls participated in a CPS league. After the 7th & 8th grade were restructured into the high schools, the focus turned to basketball for the 6th grade boys & girls. The time spent on the court is not about X’s & O’s or wins and losses. It is about the love and honesty you can see and feel in each of these athletes. Goal setting is our top priority (being a team, caring for each other & being a good student-athlete). Every day I coach I am reminded how blessed I am to be a part of their lives. I have been able to follow some of our athletes into high school.
In addition to our weekly partnership with Rothenberg, our partnership includes providing them with Thanksgiving Baskets, Christmas presents for every child in the grades that we mentor in, and giving goodie bags to each student each day as they take their official tests in May. If you are interested in being involved with Rothenberg but unable to commit weekly time to mentoring one on one, consider writing one (or several) personal notes of encouragement that we can include with these testing goodie bags in May – we end up needing about 500 notes in total.
If you have a small amount of time to give, and a heart that can give and receive love from these children of God, then there is room at the table for you. For more information or to volunteer contact Sarah Putman, firstname.lastname@example.org. Notes can be dropped off to the office until the end of April.
Bill and Karen Bruner