In continuation of our 15th year celebration, New Haven Reads sat down with Kate Coleman to discuss her time volunteering with NHR. Kate has volunteered with us for 14 years!
NHR: When and why did you first start volunteering with NHR?
Kate: I started in march of 2003 . I was walking by Park Street, going to get a sandwich for lunch and I noticed the place. I walked in. Chris was there. She was the only one there at the moment. I said, “Do you need a volunteer,” and Chris said, “Yeah.”
“Well,” I said, “I can start as soon as you want me to.” And that was it. There was no application. Nothing to fill out. But at that time we weren’t tutoring. I’ve been volunteering since then.
I shouldn’t be allowed in the building.
Kate: I take home too many books.
NHR: What keeps you coming back?
I just enjoy volunteering. I like the people although they keep changing on me. As soon as I remember their names they leave.
NHR: From your personal perspective, how has NHR changed over the last 10 years?
Kate: It has changed an awful lot. The tutoring alone has changed. When we started tutoring there were two or three kids and that was it. Every time we moved we got more kids. When we moved here (Bristol Street) we really expanded the tutoring program because we had so much more room.
We have some tutors that were tutees. I think that’s neat.
You see kids come in for the first time and they’re really dragging their feet. “I don’t have to be tutored! I don’t want to be here!” And within a couple of weeks they’re racing to the back to the tutor. A bond develops between the two of them.
I don’t know if tutee is a real word. Chris used to use it all the time.
NHR: What kind of impact do you believe that NHR has on our community and the city of New Haven?
I think it has had a good impact on the kids and the schools. Teachers think it’s a great resource. A lot of teachers come in and get books.
NHR: What impact, if any, do you feel that volunteering at NHR has had on you?
Well it has expanded my library a great deal. The book I’m reading now, I had seen it somewhere and thought that it looked like an interesting book. Sure enough it was here!