Tracey Beckett Story
I have been serving with Reading Circle since May 2015. I think most people who meet Alysa Marx end up serving in some capacity, because her passion for the refugee community and her resolve to partner with them is magnetic and hard to resist. It’s easy to see that she’s a part of something bigger than herself and that she wants to bring you into that as well. I loved Reading Circle for a variety of reasons – it checked so many of my boxes I had when looking for volunteer opportunities.
Reading Circle exists, because parents in the refugee community shared that they wanted to see their children grow in fluency and reading the English language and somebody listened. I admire organizations that partner with communities rather than telling a group of people what they need. I also love Reading Circle, because it does not look the same as when I joined two years ago, and I believe that’s a good thing. It shows leadership’s adaptability to grow and change to fit the needs of both the students and the mentors. Reading Circle stands out because of its data-driven nature. Students’ reading levels and comprehension are tracked and measured regularly, to ensure that the program is effective and resulting in growth. I want to be a part of organizations that don’t simply consider how they feel about their work, but truly reflect on their impact and their practices.
That being said, being a part of Reading Circle does make me feel good, and I love attending each Wednesday and seeing students and mentors alike. I love the inside jokes I’ve formed with my student, Prava. She seems quiet initially, but has a strength of character unmatched by most I know. She’s thoughtful and reflective and is invested in her own learning process. She used to enjoy reading any and all books about dragons but has now moved onto books with spies and intrigue. She asks complicated questions that I don’t have easy answers to, and that challenges me to return the favor. Yes, each week we work on her fluency and her vocabulary. We discuss what we’re reading to check for her understanding, but ultimately we’re both growing our own perspective and the way we see the world. Bhutan used to feel far away and irrelevant, but now it’s close and significant, because I know children and men and women from that country. They are my neighbors and my friends. Prava put a name and a face to the refugee crisis for me and taught me about her own resiliency and drive for learning. I am confident our community is the better for having refugees here, and I know that I am the better for knowing Prava.