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June 26, 2007
As one of the first members of Experience Corps in Greater New Haven, Fran Nelson has found that she can give back to the community, while doing something that she is truly good at, teaching. Fran joined Experience Corps because she missed spending time with children. After teaching grades 1, 3, and 4 at at Cos Cob Elementary School in Greenwich, Connecticut for 37 years and being retired for five years, Fran was ready to return to her passion.
“I like helping the students and hopefully with my help they can become better readers,” said Fran.
One example of the bond that can form through learning is exemplified in this story:
“When I was at the Helen Street School, I worked in the resource room with four students. They were absolutely wonderful, just like little sponges! They looked forward to seeing me when I worked with them on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and wanted to learn with me. Sometimes they would even look for me in other rooms to see if I was in the school and not working with them.”
“I love seeing children looking forward to reading,” said Fran. “One of the goals of Experience Corps is to get the children more interested in reading, and building a nation of readers, and I am helping to do just that.”
Fran’s enjoyment of tutoring with Experience Corps has led her to continue tutoring at New Haven Reads several days a week for the summer.
Experience Corps of Greater New Haven is a volunteer initiative that engages older Americans, ages 55+, and utilizes their wisdom and professional experience to tutor elementary school children, grades K-3, in the subjects of reading and writing. Tutors receive training and then begin working with students in the classroom, in small groups, and one-on-one. The program was brought to Greater New Haven by the United Way of Greater New Haven and the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut and launched in February 2007 at two schools in Hamden. An expansion to all eight Hamden elementary schools is planned for September 2007.
After working for Experience Corps and working for New Haven reads once a week, during the summer, Fran is working with New Haven Reads 4 days a week.
Why did you choose to join Experience Corps?
I received a flyer in the mail. I had been retired for 5 years and wanted to give back to the community with something that I am good at. I missed being with the children. My favorite part of teaching was always being around the kids.
How do you benefit from tutoring the children?
I benefit because I like helping them, and hopefully with my help they can become better readers. I love kids because they are so open. I also like the tutoring because this is pure teaching. I don't have to come into the classroom and check my e-mail and do paperwork.
Do you have a specific story to share that demonstrates the impact you have made?
When I was at the Helen St. School, I worked in the resource room with 4 students. They were absolutely wonderful, just like little sponges! They looked forward to seeing me when I worked with them on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and wanted to learn with me. Sometimes they would even look for me in other rooms to see if I was in the school and not working with them.
What is your favorite part of tutoring with Experience Corps?
I love seeing children looking forward to reading. One of the goals is to get the children more interested in reading, and building a nation of readers, and I am helping to do just that.
What did you do in your professional life?
I taught for 37 and a half years- grades 1, 3, and 4 in the Cos Cob school district- Greenwich.
Would you be interested in being contacted by a local televised news station or radio station?
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