Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This past year, Nate Chen, a high school student at Friends Academy discovered the meaning of this quote for himself. As a volunteer who helps our 4th and 5th grade groups with their homework, Nate has discovered a love of helping others and working with children. He says “volunteering is rewarding to me because it gives me an opportunity to teach children and make them smile. It also allows me to share knowledge of my favorite subjects and study strategies that have worked for me.”
Carlos Pumar, our K-5 Youth Development Director observes that the young kids affectionately refer to Nate as “Einstein” because of his obvious intelligence and his ability to help our young members with any and all of their homework. But what really stands out is Nate’s personal warmth and patience with the kids. Nate says, “through volunteering, I learned that teaching is all about patience, understanding and making things fun for kids on their level. Working with the kids has taught me to have a sense of humor about life.”
In Nate’s Own Words…
My name is Nathaniel Chen, or Nate for short. I am sixteen years old and attend Friends Academy High School. My favorite subjects are math and computer science. During the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic, I would see my father go to the hospital to save lives. It motivated me to make a difference in our community and share my skills. My family has been involved with the Club for a few years so I knew that there could be an opportunity for me to help the children after school with math and computer coding.
Most days, I help the kids with homework and projects. I believe it is important for kids to not only get their work done, but also to truly understand how to solve each problem. However, no kid should have to work all day. We play games, watch shows, and even code together.
Thursdays are the highlight of my week. It has been wonderful going to the Club and getting to know the kids and building trust and friendship. They seem to genuinely be happy to see me every week. Volunteering is rewarding to me because it gives me an opportunity to teach children and make them smile. It also allows me to share knowledge of my favorite subjects and study strategies that have worked for me.
Through volunteering, I learned that teaching is all about patience, understanding and making things fun for kids on their level. Working with the kids has taught me to have a sense of humor about life.
We asked Nate to share a favorite story or significant memory of working with kids at the Club… here’s what he told us:
Although Isaac was quite shy at first, we quickly discovered that we have a shared interest in computer game design. Over the last month, Isaac has been creating a KidOYO computer game. We talk about it every week and I suggest different ideas for the game. He has been adding new levels and features. Starting with a simple game, every week the game has become more sophisticated. Recently, we worked on adding a win screen and a win sequence. Next week, he will add a life system. It’s exciting to see his progression. I can’t wait to see what we will come up with next!