Friday, May 28, 2010

"Helping people and being helped in return is the most glorious thing that can be done"

As many of you may remember, these days we are seeking stories from the field not just of teaching efforts, but also of social and economic development.  Here is an update from a social action initiative that has been ongoing for several years in the Milwaukee, WI (A) cluster:  Unity in Motion.  A dedicated cadre of volunteers carries out several impressive lines of action that benefit children and youth, including literacy, mentoring, non-violent martial arts, just to name a few.  Check out its Web site at  Here are some excerpts of a recent report published in the cluster’s newsletter:
Unity in Motion Inc. (UIM) offers a mentor curriculum, in which successful high school students are matched with participating youth and serve as tutors and role models to them.  In addition to the already established mentoring being carried out in high schools in the central city, this year we started on a trial basis a mentoring program at one of the suburban high schools.  Two of the mentors wrote letters about their experiences, and they touched me so deeply I asked and received permission from them to share this with our volunteers, families, partners and donors. . . .

Excerpts from Letter 1
Going into the program in September, I was skeptical of how it was all going to unfold . . . Never would I have imagined how truly it would affect me and how much I would truly enjoy coming every week to see the faces who I knew by name and everyone knew mine.  It felt like a place where I belonged, and the original skepticism just makes the final outcome even more enjoyable. . . . Unity in Motion will probably forever hold a special place in my heart . . . My outlook is broader, I care more easily and more openly, and I just feel more confident and more self-assured and helping people and being helped in return is the most glorious thing that can be done, and it helps me realize who I want to be, what role I want to play as I grow older and transcend into adulthood.
Excerpts from Letter 2
Throughout my months of involvement in Unity in Motion, I have been impacted more than I ever thought possible. . . . My interaction with the children has resulted in the development of innumerable friendships.  I honestly look forward to every Monday when I am able to see the children I tutor and hear about their week.  It is so indescribable fulfilling to not only help students defy their own educational barriers, but to watch them grow.  In fact, I have been so influenced by the program, its values, and its students that I thoroughly hope to stay involved in the program next year when I attend college.

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