Meet Janet Milton, one of the newest volunteer tutors in the elementary program at Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream. A retired fourth-grade teacher, Janet discovered Outreach through an unexpected conversation. “I got involved through a neighbor, Charlie Vavaro, who was walking one day in June and we just started chatting, and somehow the topic of Outreach came up. He asked if I would be interested in becoming a tutor in the fall and so, when September came I decided yes, this would be a good thing to do.”

As a teacher, Janet immediately saw the value of the tutoring program. “I had students who fed into our district and something like this would have been invaluable to them, to have this extra boost.”

Janet was paired with Belinda, a fourth grader who says she loves having Janet as her tutor. The feeling is mutual. “Belinda is so enthusiastic about learning and completing all the work,” says Janet. “How perfect is this situation—for her to be able to come here, get her homework done and feel good about what she’s done. I can impart some learning strategies to her and hopefully that carries through to her classroom. And the time goes by so quickly! When it’s time to go home, I think to myself ‘It can’t be over already, there are a few more things we want to do!’”

Janet’s one regret is that it took her this long to discover the volunteer tutoring opportunity. She hopes more of Outreach’s friends will do what Charlie did, and help get the word out by simply sharing their story. “It’s just such a small thing in your life that you can do, but I think in the end it will make such a big difference in a child’s life.”