A year and a half ago, Dennis Sellin decided that he “wanted to give something back.”
Dennis got that chance shortly after when he came across a FLOC flyer at the gym. He said it sounded “perfect” and exactly what he hoped to do, so last summer he became a tutor in the Summer Reading Program.
“It’s not a secret that the District of Columbia struggles with education, especially childhood education, and I knew that was an area where there was a need for some volunteer work,” he said.
Dennis is quite fond of reading, which is one of the reasons he chose to volunteer with FLOC. His student, Davon, is a 9th grader who at first didn’t express the same enthusiasm for reading. Davon used to tell him “I don’t like to read,” but Dennis has seen him change his mind. Now, Davon looks forward to reading a book at the end of the lesson, and he completely understands what he’s reading—a crucial step in the right direction.
“I’ve been really happy to hear that his academic performance in school has improved a lot, and it would be nice to think that some of that is due to FLOC,” he said.
Before FLOC, Dennis had zero experience as a tutor. Though at first he worried if he would click with the students and be able to relate to them, he now has different concerns. He doesn’t want to be boring; he strives to be interactive, creative and flexible throughout the lesson.
He especially stresses making the lesson fun. “You have to remember [that these students] have been in school all day and then they come here. It’s a long day.”
Dennis likes that he tutors at an organization that is doing good in the community and making a difference where it counts.
“Every single week you make a small advance,” Dennis says. “You watch them progress through the lessons and you have to believe that you’re having an impact.”
Dennis has had the chance to attend a few FLOC events and hear from principals, parents, and a few former FLOC students who are now in college. “That’s the payback. If I can help a little bit, doing something I love, why not?”