by Bill Mackey
My service work through IVC is tutoring kindergartners in the after school program at Winton Hills Academy. The students and tutors meet three times a week and work with materials and a curriculum developed to help students increase their reading skills and lay the groundwork for success in school and life.
At the end of the school year the students have a field trip to Joseph-Beth Booksellers. The boys and girls hopped on their yellow school bus and ventured over to Rookwood Commons As they got off the bus in front of the bookstore, they were very excited. Each student was accompanied by an adult and they entered this new land of books and sights and sounds.
The students were excited not just to be in a special store, but they each got to pick out $20 worth of books to take home and call their own. For some of the students these were their first books. Having the books at home can aid in many ways to develop their reading skills.
The kindergartners roamed around the store looking at books, puzzles, and toys. Their excitement and happiness was reflected on their faces and expressions. After they picked out books that satisfied their individual interests and curiosities, they took them to the cashier.
The next part of the field trip included lunch at the Bronte-Bistro in the bookstore. The students sat down with their tutors and ordered lunch. As they patiently waited for their food to arrive, they sat at the table talking to each other, talking with the tutors, and even talking with the servers. They were having fun. They were careful to have good manners, be respectful and polite with others as they showed their gratitude for this special opportunity.
As we sat at the table enjoying the meals, the thought came to me that this is the way God intends for us to live in His love. Here we were interacting together without any thoughts about our differences in race, religion, or age. We were all just having a good time together laughing, caring about each other, respecting one another, and grateful for each other’s company. There was a mutual love for one another as we shared happiness, resources, and our lives which contributed to the common good and the glory of God.
William Mackey is an Ignatian Volunteer in Cincinnati. He taught for 10 years at Summit Country Day. He has been involved with his local parish including having taught CCD ( Confirmation preparation) for about 25 years. In the words of Regional Director Linda Wihl of IVC Cincinnati, “Bill knows what it takes to build heart!”