Martha Byington is a second year volunteer at the Blackstone Elementary School in the South End. She visits two classrooms each week. One of these is Lisa Goncalves-Lavin’s first grade class. Martha has been a lifelong volunteer: in fact, she’s volunteered in a variety of ways since she was 18 years old.
When we first asked Martha to describe her experience she warned, “I might cry!” She didn’t, and we had a great time chatting. Read more about her below.
You’ve been a volunteer for a long time. What brought you to Boston Partners in Education?
Martha also writes letters to the inmates in between sessions. Currently she is doing research about ancient art for one of the men with whom she is working.
My trainer at the Y told me about Boston Partners in Education – he himself tutors at the Quincy School. He thought that I would really like volunteering. I listen to him for all things related to my health, so I listened to him about Boston Partners.
This is your second year, why did you decide to come back?
Lisa and I email each other all the time. It’s the easiest way for her, because she’s incredibly busy. She lets me know what’s happening and I give her feedback often. We even have coffee together some times. I definitely feel supported by the staff at the school.
Who are the students you are working with this year?
Any funny moments?
What has been your biggest success?
Overall, how do you feel about the match between you and your students?
Lisa Goncalves-Lavin, the teacher Martha works with, had this to say about having Martha in her classroom:
Thank you for making it so easy for Martha to come to my room again this year. I feel very fortunate to have her help!
Besides the joy she brings to the students she works with, she’s very helpful to me. I’m usually behind these four walls, alone. I miss some things; I can’t see everything. She always follows up with what she sees and learns.