Meet Our Yale Summer Fellow: Hunter Mason

Picture3Name: Hunter Mason

Hometown: Mystic, CT

College and Major: Yale Class of 2020, Political Science

Tutoring Site: Science Park

Favorite Childhood Book: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

It was in the midst of a busy semester that I received a message from the Yale President’s Office, inviting members of the Yale community to consider and apply for the President’s Public Service Fellowship through which those individuals selected would be able to spend the summer in New Haven with local community organizations working in worthy causes. To say that I was excited when I was extended the invitation to be a part of New Haven Reads does not begin to describe my feeling for the work being done here. Of so many worthy causes for the city, sharing the joy and power of literacy with the children here in my mind seems quite noble and essential.

The ideology of welcoming and celebration of learning at New Haven Reads permeates all the relationships made here, among staff, tutors, and students. As I became acquainted with the various members of the permanent staff as well as the regular and dedicated tutors, I was overcome with an awe for their vision of the importance of the organization’s work, and I felt immense gratitude that they welcomed me immediately as a part of their extended family. I have seen manifestations of the same feelings of comfort and gratitude in the students who come to read and learn. This makes every moment and warm and rewarding one, whether it be spent in helping with the vast book bank or in the exciting activities, books, and games of tutoring time.

I learned the benefit of the individualized and flexible approach to meeting a child’s literacy needs rather than applying a fixed formula when I met Fernando. A young man slightly older than than the average student who comes in for tutoring, I learned that he and his family had recently moved from Puerto Rico. When he first arrived to his session, I had him sit at the computer, and I would ask him questions and give him suggestions, to which he did not respond. For the longest time, I thought he was just shy, but in a stroke of inspiration, I began to speak to him in Spanish, and he replied, explaining that he is still very uncomfortable speaking English. Once I met him where he was, I could work from a position that encouraged him to challenge himself, and he began to speak English with me. By the end of our two sessions, we had become friends, and he enjoyed reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid aloud with me.

The opportunity to work with bright and promising children and youth like Fernando as well as to have the support and inspiration of so many wonderful people at New Haven Reads have made the summer thus far an incredible and rewarding experience. I am eager to continue my work here, even beyond the summer. I am grateful to Yale for helping me arrive at this experience and for the community that New Haven Reads has created to share the joy of reading with all.

 

Categories News & Events | Tags: | Posted on June 27, 2018

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