Suzanne Osetek Has Volunteered for Eight Years
“It’s reinforced my opinion that most people are kind and generous.”
What made you decide to become a volunteer?
I am interested in education for all children. When I first heard about Our Next Generation, I was excited to join the tutors at the center. I continued that school year and enjoyed getting to know some of the children. During that time, I recruited church members and neighbors to volunteer at Our Next Generation. Then I started thinking about how nice it would be if we could bring children to Saint John’s On The Lake, a retirement community on Milwaukee’s East Side where I live, so more people from Saint John’s could enjoy getting to know these wonderful children.
Describe the organization where you volunteer.
Our Next Generation provides academic tutoring, enrichment programming, and social support to thousands of students in the heart of one of Milwaukee’s most challenged communities, with tangible results: better grades, higher high-school graduation rates, improved self-esteem, and positive attitudes toward the future.
What kind of help do you provide?
I am a volunteer program coordinator and helped to develop and implement literacy programs for the youth served by Our Next Generation, especially for after-school and mentoring activities.
I worked with the administration team to establish the first on-site youth program at Saint John’s. We have the third grade children of Our Next Generation come to Saint John’s Monday afternoons for an hour. Many residents of Saint John’s have enjoyed being with the children. Some of our volunteers are in wheel chairs, many have serious health issues. They love the children. We read with the children, do art projects, and arrange interesting guest visits. Everyone enjoys the visits.
How long have you volunteered there?
I have been with Our Next Generation for eight years, seven with the children coming to Saint John’s.
What surprised you the most about volunteering?
I am always surprised and delighted by how much I get out of the experience: getting to know the children, seeing how much Saint John’s volunteers enjoy the children. As the children walk through the halls at Saint John’s, the residents stop to greet them by their names. They really look forward to the Monday visits.
When you think about your paid jobs, how is a volunteering different or the same?
I was a teacher. I taught high school mathematics and I always enjoyed being with my students and helping them learn. The children we have now are much younger but it’s still fun to teach.
What new things have you learned through this opportunity?
I have learned that all people have gifts to offer, no matter your age, abilities and socioeconomic status.
Has it changed your view of the world in any way?
It has reinforced my opinion that most people are good, kind and generous. The bad guys are in the minority!
Has volunteering had benefits for you?
I have made new friends with the people from Saint John’s and Our Next Generation.
Would you recommend volunteering to others?
Yes. People should find something they care about and look for ways they can get involved. They will find great satisfaction.
How would you suggest someone begin if they want to volunteer?
Open their eyes and their hearts. They will find something.
Our Next Generation at St. John’s on the Lake
If you’re looking to get involved as a community volunteer at Our Next Generation, we are currently recruiting for academic mentors and tutors for the Homework Club Program. Additionally, we have opportunities for volunteers to become involved with our new Reading Circle for 1st-3rd grade students. In this unique program volunteers have the opportunity to read their favorite book to a group of students.
If you want to volunteer at Our Next Generation, contact Sessie Agbley at (414) 344-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Our Next Generation, go to www.ongkids.org.