By Lyla Miller

I started working with Team Read halfway through my freshman year. The site my sister was working at (John Muir) needed more coaches and I knew she loved Team read so I thought, why not? On my first day, I had no idea what to expect. I had always loved kids, but I didn’t have much experience with them. Despite my doubts, throughout those next few months Team Read became the best part of my week. I was assigned to work with a 3rd grader who was shy at first, but during the time we spent together we built a strong connection. Over those few months, I saw our confidence grow simultaneously. Hers in reading and mine in coaching. By the end of the year, she graduated Team Read as a strong and confident reader and I ended the year feeling confident in my coaching abilities.

Because I had such an amazing experience working at John Muir, I wanted to do the summer program too! I was assigned to work at the Yesler Terrace site. The summer program was slightly different from my experience in the school year because Team Read was partnering with a camp, so I got to coach kids with reading as well as play games and try new activities with them. This allowed me the chance to watch the kids grow and develop their reading skills while also getting to know each of them individually. Additionally, I built strong connections with the other coaches, site assistant, and site coordinator. Throughout the five weeks that we worked together we created a strong bond that made my day so much better. This experience was so much fun and I can truly say that it was one of the best summers I’ve ever had!

This year I worked as a site assistant at Thurgood Marshall Elementary. Working as a site assistant pushed my leadership skills in new ways. Before, I was only responsible for working with one kid, but now I had a whole new set of responsibilities, including leading the other coaches in professional development at the end of each session. This pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to be a leader in a setting with kids, as well as with my peers.

Overall, my time working with Team Read has taught me so much and I can’t wait to build more skills and make more memories over the next two years. Looking back, I could have never imagined the impact that this job would have on me. I feel so lucky to be part of a program that has such a large impact on so many kids. Being a coach and site assistant has also helped me discover that working with kids is something that I want to do not only for the next two years, but for the rest of my life.