We Are Difference Makers

Chrystal, a second-term ReadingCorps member, is one of a four-person team serving students at Carr Creek Elementary in Knott County. Each day, Chrystal tutors 22 Kindergarten through 3rd-grade students both one-on-one and in small groups to help them overcome the barriers they face to reading on grade level. 

Lilly is one of Chrystal’s students that has shown incredible growth with each tutoring session. “At the beginning of the year, Lilly was very timid and unsure of herself. She struggled to recognize the letters of the alphabet and how to sound out the ones she did. The first thing I did with Lilly was explain my classroom is a safe place for mistakes, that I believed in her, and that we were no longer going to speak of the things she ‘can’t do.'”

With each passing week as she moved through units on letter recognition and phonics, her smiles grew larger and the pride in her work increased exponentially. Now, it is evident that she loves to read and has gained the skills needed to increase her recognition of sight words, grow her overall vocabulary, and improve her spelling and comprehension in all her classwork. 

“I am proud that her hard work is showing up in her assessments,” Chrystal shared, “but what is even more amazing for me to witness is the growth in her self-esteem. Now she knows the sky is the limit!

The impact of Chrystal’s service extends beyonds Lilly’s personal and academic achievements. “I love watching the children I serve light up as they experience success. That is what keeps me coming back each day with love and pride for my work, ” Chrystal said.  I have had children hug my neck and tell me that they feel smart now because I believed in them. And I do. I believe in them with all my heart and will be beside them for their entire journey, even beyond them being at my table daily. We are difference makers.

Are you interested in making a difference in the life of a child? Learn more about becoming a full-time ReadingCorps tutor or after-school volunteer opportunities for those in Hindman and across the country.