I wasn’t Dado’s tutor for very long – two months, to be exact – but my experience proved that you don’t have to know a person too long for him to make an impact worth a lifetime.
I learned about the Tutoring Program at He Cares Mission through the iVolunteer Instagram account. I was a full-time MBA student looking for meaningful ways to fill some spare time during the week. I signed up on iVolunteer’s website for a 9AM tutoring session on Wednesday. Since it was my first time being a tutor, I browsed through the site looking for things to expect and was pleasantly surprised to find several videos offering advice and tips to first-time volunteers like myself.
The following Wednesday was my first session. As soon as I got to the Foundation Center, Cathy Evangelista, the overall manager for the tutoring program, met me with a warm welcome. After a brief orientation, she informed me I would be paired with Dado. Dado had joined the He Cares Mission earlier in the year. Smiling quietly, Cathy told me that he was 14 years old, but because he couldn’t go to school regularly, he was still in the fourth grade.
Dado was a delight to tutor. On our first day, he shared to me that English (even if he wasn’t the strongest in his class) was his favorite because he knew that mastery of the subject matter would lead to greater opportunities in the future. I was taken aback and thoroughly impressed. From then on, I made it my personal mission to help him take baby steps towards meeting this goal.
I eventually became Dado’s regular tutor every Wednesday morning. Every so often in the middle of our sessions, I would discover a thing or two about Dado before he joined the He Cares House. It tugged at my heart strings when I found out that he didn’t know where his parents were. He didn’t even particularly remember when he entered the House; whether it was one or two years ago – all he cared about was that he wanted to study back at school – and study well.
Time didn’t permit me to spend more than two months as Dado’s tutor. But I’ll always treasure the experience I had at He Cares Mission. The satisfaction of sharing the knowledge I have and guide him through his weekly homework – and more importantly, seeing his progress little by little gave me a sense of mission that went well beyond myself. The reality is, there are many cases like Dado’s. And I’ve personally felt an overwhelming feeling of helplessness thinking of where to even start and help address this massive problem. But the answer is simple – you start little by little, with a single student who might need a little help in sentence structure or multiplication of fractions. The He Cares Mission invites all of us to share in this mission. Giving a little bit of your time can go a long way, and it won’t just change your student’s life; I guarantee it will change yours, too. I know it changed mine.
- by Sarah Brillantes Alli