Happy Accidents

In December, while feeling overwhelmed by the wretched excess of the season, I wrote about donating to a worthy cause. My donating bug started about 15 years ago. Back then, I was dirt-freakin' poor so I volunteered my time - and lots of it. I felt very fortunate for my life and I wanted to share my abundance even though it wasn't in monetary form. So, I found a few hours of time a week and offered it up to various places that I thought could use some help. Surprisingly, most places welcomed me and my meager donation.

Thus, volunteering became a part of my existence, even though today my fortunes have changed and I could probably just write a check and walk away. There's something viscerally satisfying about showing up and getting my hands dirty, so to speak. However, my volunteering is very cyclical. I go through bouts where I feel like I have tons of time and I sign up to do a bunch of stuff. Then I get burned out and feel like my own life is being neglected. So I stop volunteering for a while - usually about 6 months to a year - until my batteries are recharged and then a start back up again.

Recently, the HR department at Company X sent out an email about tutoring opportunities at the high school down the street from the office. The required hours seemed reasonable and working one-on-one with kids wasn't anything I'd done before. I replied with a tentative "well...maybe" email, making sure to put a big "I need to know more" caveat in my response. I guess when the Universe wants you to do something, it clears the way and makes it easy because, within a few weeks, I was having a background check done and they were talking about assigning me a student. Yikes!

Don't let the fresh faces fool you.
The first time I walked into the school was for my tutor interview - before any paperwork or anything. I guess they wanted to make sure I was relatively normal. As I entered the building, I was struck by how scary it was to be surrounded by teenagers. Do you realize that, if they decided to rise up against us, we'd be in major trouble?? It would be like Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Seriously. And a bunch of them just ooze attitude. It totally freaked me out. But, once I got into the tutor room and met with the head of the program (who is about 12 years old, btw - adorable, smart, organized, and amazing, but 12 none-the-less) most of my fears were alleviated. Then my background check came back clean. Why that surprised me is a complete mystery since I haven't done anything remotely "bad" since about 1986. Then I got an email saying that I was assigned a student. A girl who needed help with English and History - both subjects I can deal with. Math, not so much but give me the Humanities and Social Sciences and I'm good to go.

Yesterday was my first session. Honestly, I was nervous. I had no idea if she was going to be totally receptive to the tutoring or if she was going to give me attitude. Turns out she's a doll. Sweet and smart and a little lost. She requested tutoring in second quarter but they didn't have anyone to assign her to and she ended up failing three core classes. My heart aches for her because all she wants is to be a solid C student. I think I can help her as long as she actually does the work. I hope I can help her. Unfortunately, one of the classes she's failing is Algebra 2 and, as we've established, I got nothin' so we're going to try to find her a separate math tutor.

Here's the real kicker... We were reviewing her class schedule and I saw that she was taking something called Fashion Business (or some such). So I said, "Oh! Cool! That looks like s fun class."and then she said, "Yeah, it's pretty cool Right now we're learning to knit."

I guess the Universe put us together for a reason. :)

- Alex


  1. That last sentence really made me grin! I guess you really did get put together for a reason. Here's hoping you can help her out, it sounds like an excellent programme.

  2. @pinkundine - I hope so too. She's such a nice kid. I can't believe I can tutor knitting!