Jannete Acosta (center) at the Education Fund’s 2015 Volunteer Recognition Event.

Volunteers come to us for many reasons. Sometimes they’re looking to give back to their community. Maybe they like a particular academic subject. Or perhaps they’re thinking about becoming an educator. For our middle school Math Program Volunteer Jannete Acosta, it was all three.

“At that age, I also needed help in math, and I begged that someone would help me,” Jannete explained. “Going home to my parents, who had no type of education here, it was so difficult for them to explain ‘this is how you solve this problem.’”

Jannete found the Education Fund through San Francisco State University, where she’s considering a career in education. Last year, she signed up to volunteer through our newly launched Math Program, in which volunteers work one-on-one with small groups of students.

“The kids, they need a lot of help, and if you’re willing to give five minutes of your time, they’re there. They’re willing to listen to you. You can sit there for two minutes and run through the sample question one more time and they get it. Their little face brightens up,” she said.

Those ‘ah-ha’ moments are what keep her coming back.

“For example, I’m working with a sixth-grader who needs help with multiplication tables. He has a very difficult time going down the list of nines,” she said. “He needs someone there to teach him and make it fun. I taught him the multiplication rule with his fingers. I went in today and he showed me he could do it. It made me so happy to see him finally get it.”

This year, she’s filling seven tutor placements, working almost a whole day each week with sixth-graders at James Lick Middle School.

“I give up an eight-hour shift to be there to volunteer because I know it’ going to have an impact,” she said. “They change your day.”

If you know someone who loves math or is looking for a way to give back, tell him/her to consider volunteering in our Math Program. Our volunteers make a difference with just one hour, once a week.