Team Read’s partnership with Teens in Public Service (TIPS) brought Maddy Hoffman’s energy and enthusiasm to our expanded summer program at MLK Elementary. As we say goodbye (and thank you!) to Maddy this week, we asked about her experience with Team Read’s staff, coaches, student readers, and families.

Why is helping to educate others important to you?
My recent history class reminded me how important it is to learn from the past so we can become part of a more tolerant, caring future. That takes life skills that children served by Team Read may not otherwise have opportunities to build. I worked with kids this summer who were incredibly passionate about a simple activity, like working together on a reading game. They were having fun and improving their reading, and at the same time learning bigger life skills, like how to collaborate and think critically.

How did you support the parents of Team Read students?
One of my responsibilities was to create weekly newsletters for parents of readers. Our goal was to provide families with an understanding of what their children were learning, and then suggest activities to extend that learning beyond our program and into the home. When kids see that their families value education, they are more likely to value it, too.

What was the most powerful experience you had this summer?
During an enrichment activity, I helped a girl put on an anklet she had made, and she said it reminded her of a house arrest bracelet. That really took me off guard, because I didn’t know what that was at her age. The experience gave me a peek into the types of situations some kids are exposed to. It made me feel immensely grateful and motivated me to be my best self when I’m with the kids.

Is there a specific skill that your Team Read experience helped you develop?
I will take with me the skill of being flexible. Sometimes kids don’t want to do certain activities, or they do it in the “wrong” way, so learning how to turn a negative situation into a positive one was important to me. Trusting your instincts about how to move forward when plans change – I think that will be key to my attaining success in the future.