Name: Priscilla Rubio
Hometown: New Haven, CT
College and Major: Trinity College, Neuroscience
Tutoring Site: Willow
Clubs: Math I , Origami I, Origami II
Favorite Childhood Book: A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
Google search: “Opportunities in New Haven”. It was the summer before my sophomore year and I wanted to volunteer in an organization that catered to the needs of the kids within the community. I wanted to be part of something that was able to create an impact that would ripple positive growth. I grew up in a Spanish speaking household. When starting school, I had to learn English, but was also required to reach a proficient reading level. I struggled with comprehension and pronunciation. The quote, “It takes a village to raise a child”, holds true in many aspects. If it weren’t for the countless educators that had the patience and motivation to guide me through reading, I wouldn’t have been able to get a placement of two grades above the proficiency reading level, within one school year. When reading about New Haven Reads in detail, I stood in awe of all they had to offer to students who were in similar shoes as I once was.
After volunteering for a few months, I took a small absence due to family health problems. I was eager to return after 3 months. I had left wanting to continue seeing the smiles on the children’s faces as they read. Soon after my return, I became a Reader to Leader and now a summer intern at the Willow Site. It has been a privilege to be able to work with the students, individually and as a collective whole.
During one of my tutoring sessions, the student had picked a new book, but was having trouble reading a few big words. He was soon frustrated that he couldn’t read as fast as he normally did. We decided to take a deep breath and break the word into sections. We then sounded out every letter and realized it had a sneaky silent e. After revising the word he was able to read “Debate”. He learned that the E influences how other letters sound. We ended our reading session in a victory dance, in which he then quickly ran off screen to tell his mom about his great accomplishment. This is a memory that will stick with me forever.
I have learned from the staff, as well as from the students. I can sincerely say that I have loved every single day. Not only because I got to see the students smile proudly while missing their two front teeth, but because every day there was a new challenge, a new goal and a continued positive outlook. The passionate staff wants each student to carry out their success in reading into their own communities. There are countless students that deserve the learning environment New Haven Reads creates. Being a helping hand to carry out this mission has been an honor. Thank you for contributing to giving these students a reason to have a victory dance. Thank you to the First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank, and the amazing team at New Haven Reads for providing an unforgettable experience