OSP Volunteer Highlight: Suzanne Donovan

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Suzanne Donovan
Suzanne Donovan, Opportunity Saint Paul volunteer

Edited by Emma Grisanzio, Program Support Coordinator, Opportunity Saint Paul

PLACEMENT | Reading Partners
VOLUNTEER ROLE | Reading Tutor

Suzanne volunteers at Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet, where the site coordinator shared this story with us:

“Suzanne Donovan has been a great asset to Reading Partners and to the student she is paired with in particular. Her student was shy and reserved when she first began arriving for tutoring sessions, but Suzanne has been generous and sincere in her praise so that her student’s confidence has grown greatly. Suzanne’s student is an English language learner and vocabulary has been a significant obstacle for her; Suzanne takes time every lesson to not only review key English words, but asks her student to teach her a few words in the student’s native language. They share personal stories about their lives as well as work on reading skills. Both Suzanne’s student and Reading Partners are lucky to have her!”

We asked Suzanne about her volunteer experience so far:

Why did you decide to join Opportunity Saint Paul?
“Opportunity Saint Paul is taking a hard look at poverty in the city of Saint Paul, a complex issue that can feel overwhelming. But it’s so much more than that. OSP is asking us to understand the effects of poverty from multiple angles, and it’s raising important questions in the context of faith and personal responsibility. But perhaps most importantly, OSP is working to build an interfaith community of people who care, people who are prepared to make a difference. I joined because OSP is helping a group of us to come to grips with the hard data about poverty in our city while acknowledging that real change comes from the heart, from seeing ourselves in one another.”

What’s your favorite aspect of your volunteering?
“I’ve enjoyed every aspect of my Reading Partners experience, from learning how to tutor a child in reading to being a small part of a positive school environment with teachers and aides who truly care. We’ve got an inspiring site coordinator. Mostly, though, I love learning from and with the 5th-grade student I’m tutoring. She’s enthusiastic and focused on our work while willing to teach me about her culture and language. Side benefit: We read great books and deconstruct words together.”

Thank you for your great work, Suzanne!

To learn more about Opportunity Saint Paul, please contact:

Zac Poxleitner
Director, Opportunity Saint Paul