‘This Is Not a Job… It’s Like Helping a Family Member’

April 25, 2017

David Chiles, Executive Director, Providence Center

A Junior at Edison High School, Victor has been a Providence Center Teen Leader for two years. He is a calm presence in the program, but his easy laugh is infectious and fills the room.

Victor particularly likes to work with children in the program who are learning English. Bi-lingual himself, he has the patience to help children practice their language skills. Speaking about one of the children he tutors, Victor says, “Even though we have to read it more than three times, that doesn’t bother me. When he can read it, it’s a great feeling.”

By working with the children and attending one of Philadelphia’s most struggling high schools, Victor has also learned about the challenges facing the school district. Last year, he testified in front of the mayor and city council members about issues in the schools. His awareness of the issues motivates him to continue serving children. “I thought it was just helping the kids. I knew there were problems with the school district and budget, but I didn’t know there were so many kids who need help with their reading level. Us helping them and reading to them and them learning, that’s what really makes me want to come back.”

“I feel like this is not a job,” Victor says, reflecting on his time at Providence Center. “This is like coming to help your little sister or brother. We all call each other brother and sister. It’s like helping a family member. I just feel like the kids want someone like us to be there.”

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