Because we are located in a community centre, we often find people peaking their noses in our door, lost and looking for directions. So, it was no surprise last Tuesday, to find two young women standing at our door. The surprise was that they were not lost or looking for directions but rather, were making a homecoming of sorts.
When I approached the two to ask if I could help, one stepped forward and said, “I don’t know if you remember me. I used to come here with my brother “John” when I was little.” Now, “John” and I have quite a history (a story for another time) so I immediately knew who this young woman was. She was “Margaret”, who had been a tiny little waif trailing along behind her older brother the last time I saw her.
“Margaret” is now the mother of a one year old son, and is expecting her second child in October, but she was quick to point out that she is still in high school, still working on graduating. Which brings us to the reason she had stopped by.
Although she is in a very supportive program for young mothers, she still finds herself struggling and thinks about quitting everyday. One such day, when she was struggling to finish math homework with a toddler crawling all over her, she thought about Homework Club and how we had helped her brother. How we had brought in a Spanish speaking volunteer to help her newly arrived parents navigate this new school system. How we had always been so nice to her. Her question was simple, “Could I come here? I need help.”
And our answer was just as simple. “Of course! Come on in. Have you eaten?”
“Margaret” has been back twice now, and handed in so much math homework the other day that her teachers were shocked. She no longer lives in the neighbourhood and has to travel a considerable distance to get here. She hasn’t spoken to her brother in a couple of months, but her parents still live just down the block. And on Thursday, “Margaret” and the Spanish speaking volunteer, who now sits on our Board of Directors, reconnected as well.
I’ve always thought that one of the magical things about Homework Club is the meaningful connections we make with the students we serve, but moments like this really reaffirm what we have always said: it’s about so much more than homework!