by Kate Lucas
On a visit to New Hope today, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a visit with a student named Natalie and her Sponsor, Deb McNally. Though Natalie was a bit shy, the two smiled and laughed as they talked about family, friends, and school. Deb presented Natalie with a book as a gift, Charlotte’s Web, which she said has always been one of her personal favorites. A teacher, Deb said that she believes strongly in the importance of reading, and that she was going to do whatever she could to encourage Natalie to learn to love it. Later, Deb explained to me that before I had arrived, she had asked Natalie whether she liked to read, and Natalie had shook her head decidedly “no.” This worried Deb a bit, as did the long hours Natalie’s single mother worked outside the home. Deb hoped to continue doing whatever she could to encourage Natalie’s education from afar.
Later on, we sat down with Mynor Lemus, the Director of New Hope. He talked about the values like respect, accountability, and commitment that he and the New Hope teachers try very hard to instill in students day after day. He said their influence is not something that will happen in an instant, but it’s like a drop on the rock every day. After enough time, it will change the shape of the stone. Mynor spoke with determination and resolve: these are habits they will acquire, he said, and they will never forget them.
Later, I thought about Natalie, and about Deb’s passionate, persistent encouragement of her reading. Deb — and so many other Sponsors — are serving as another drop on the rock. They are repeatedly reminding students of the importance of education, and I do believe these are lessons students will never forget.