Tina Brewer is an amazing individual. At 81 years young she has been volunteering in the Foster Grandparent Program in Sacramento California for 8 years at Gold River Discovery School Tutoring 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders in reading comprehension among other things. She moves across this campus with a sense of urgency to get to her next station, set up and call in the children assigned to her by their teacher. Her face is always a glow and is genuinely glad to be with these children as they discover they can learn. She happens to be very organized, as she must because she is shared by 6-7 teachers in three different areas of the school. Most Foster Grandparents volunteer 3-4 hours a day but Tina volunteers 6 hours a day quietly moving from room to room grade to grade working with a variety of needy boys and girls who need assistance in reading comprehension, arithmetic and spelling.
One day I was conducting my monthly visits and she was helping the children with money concepts. She has a jar of coins, pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters on the table and as each second/third grader came to her table she had them identify each coin. Then she had them use the coins to make a variety of totals, for example she had them make 15 cents three ways. This can be very confusing for a second/third grader. 10 pennies and a nickel, 2 nickels and 5 pennies. She was so very patient with them explaining these basic concepts. Yet, that is the way of Grandma Tina. She makes learning an adventure for these fresh minds and brigs confidence to them as they go through their tasks.
Her on-site supervisor reports “Tina has enriched our 3rd grade reading program by providing one on one instruction, and loving guidance to struggling readers. Children become more confident oral readers, better writers, and become quicker and more accurate with math facts. They are all eager to work with her. The children’s daily reading charts demonstrate growth. She is a role model and demonstrates eagerness, calmness, patience and cheerfulness. It is wonderful to see these children sparkle when they realize they can be successful readers.”
Tina is a very humble team player when it comes to her impact on these kids. When asked she said, “I work with children from grades one to three, helping them to improve their reading skills. I begin by having them read the words that they must know before they go to the next grade. The teacher keeps adding more words as we go along. After that they read a short story from a book that is assigned to them every week. The teachers find that what I do is a great help. The children show improvement when they are tested. Being part of the program has given me the opportunity to help the children improve.”