Name: Victoria Williams
Hometown: Bridgeport, CT
College: Western Connecticut State University
Favorite Children’s Book: Oh, The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss
When I applied for an internship at New Haven Reads, I intended to help students in elementary and high school get better with their reading. That’s because growing up, I struggled with reading myself—and if there was something like New Haven Reads around for me, I know that I could’ve been a stronger and more confident reader in school. When I saw that there was an opportunity to give another child something they needed, there was no question about whether or not I would take part in this.
When I started at New Haven Reads, I didn’t know what to expect. I only had experience working with kids for a year, and that was almost three years ago. However, I came to learn that I had nothing to be worried about at all. The kids were as sweet as ever and the staff was very helpful. I have a very shy personality so it’s hard for me to open up, but with all my co-workers and all the kids being so kind, helpful, and giving off positive energy, I came out of my shell week by week.
If there was something like New Haven Reads around for me, I know that I could’ve been a stronger and more confident reader in school.
What I have learned from New Haven Reads—and what I will walk away with—is no matter where you go in life, whether it’s up or down, always give back and never forget where you come from. A great experience I had at New Haven Reads had to be during my tutoring session with a student that I would tutor two days out of the week. At first, she didn’t like to read and had a big struggle decoding words, but toward the end of our sessions, she started reading out loud and understanding words on her own. She’s now read six books out loud and by herself! I couldn’t have been any prouder of her. Another great experience was seeing that my math club’s test score had gone up by around 20 to 50 percent. Those were two big accomplishments in my life.
I would like to thank the First Niagara Foundation and New Haven Reads for giving me this opportunity and I would also like to thank KeyBank for making this possible. This has been a great summer and I wish I could do it all over again.