Many people think that CSV volunteers work solo, doing one-to-one tutoring in different K-12 classrooms, and actually, they are correct. Others think that the weekly or bi-weekly mentoring that is done by groups of colleagues from various corporate work sites around Cambridge is the focus of what CSV does. They would be right, too. By getting to know Margaret Stevens, one certainly finds what an interesting niche some CSV volunteers have crafted over the years, wearing different hats at different times to support young elementary and middle school students.
About eight years ago, Margaret volunteered, as a Volpe National Transportation Systems Center employee, to lead a pre-engineering Summer Prep Program mini-course for middle school kids. Her particular area of expertise was astronomy and building structures. It wasn’t long before she decided to join Volpe’s Reading/Lunch Buddies program and read aloud to a 2nd grader at the Kennedy-Longfellow School during her lunch hour. Margaret found out quickly how to let kids pick books that they wanted to read, while she read aloud and gave the book characters a voice, even with accents! The one-to-one attention given to each student is also what drew her to this read-aloud program. Students model her ease with reading, finding joy in reading aloud themselves and gradually losing their fear altogether.
As Margaret explains, her own experience as a child has guided her to this place in life where she so enjoys being with early readers. “My dad taught me that the most important thing you can do is get an education. He said, ‘you can lose your job, you can lose you car, you can lose your house, but you can’t lose your education. It goes everywhere!’” As the parent of two middle school age children and manager at Volpe, Margaret certainly brings her listening skills and desire to encourage others to read to her volunteer role through CSV. We thank her for her many years of service to the students of Cambridge and look ahead to many more years of her invaluable work.