Monday was my last day to volunteer with my first graders. School is out for the summer. This is always a love/hate day. I hate I won't work with these children any more. And I love I don't have to get up at 6:30 until September.
Monday I worked assembling the last piles of their work to go home. Everything had to be alphabetized, stapled together, and placed in a construction paper folder (that I made and put their names on). Not hard but time consuming. I also did inventory on science kits. I just love counting 84 bottles and lids, the rest were easier, 5 of this, 18 of that, 30 of those etc. The best part of the day was when they told me thank you for volunteering.
Ms. H gave me lovely earrings and a sweet note as a thank you. The children had made a book for me of pictures and thank you letters. When I read them at home I was very touched. They were sweet and funny. The pictures were so good. The pictures of me even had the yellow visitor's tag I wear.
Ms. H had me sit in her chair with the children at my feet. Each child commented on my helping them this year. They said such sweet things: they thanked me for the extra help I gave them, they thanked me for going on the field trip, they loved to have me read to them. They really seemed appreciative of my working with them on reading and math. All of those sweet words made me cry. In fact just writing about it now is making me cry. And when I left, they all came up and hugged me and told me they loved me.
People ask me why I volunteer. Every place I have ever volunteered I have received more than I gave. I have developed friendships. I have learned so much. I have felt good about what I was doing. If the job doesn't make you feel good, no point in doing it. And trust me those first graders make me feel so good. One little boy hugged me and said, "I'll see you in the second grade this fall." He doesn't realize I don't move on with him. And the bottom line of why I volunteer, as I have said over and over: nothing beats hugs from 6 year olds.