When Teresa Moore started volunteering in her son’s kindergarten class a year ago, she only did so to help and not to receive recognition.
But her willingness to do whatever is asked of her has allowed her to earn the Volunteer of the Year at Lewis Anna Woodbury Elementary School.
Moore is the mother of two children: Hunter Downing (kindergarten) and Keely Staats (ninth grade). When she’s not working as a registered nurse at Winter Haven Hospital, she is volunteering at her children’s schools.
Her school work began with occasionally chaperoning field trips for her daughter, but shifted into high gear with her son’s kindergarten class.
One day, while having lunch with her son, she talked to his teacher and offered her services.
Since then, she has been doing whatever is required of her, whether it be making copies, helping look at papers, taking pictures, decorating the bulletin board, or putting together the homework packets.
Her main responsibility has been helping to administer the weekly advanced reading test, when the students read a story and are tested on their comprehension.
Whatever is required of her that day, she is more than willing to do. Her flexibility allows her to lend her abilities in any given situation, whether it be in the classroom or the office.
She has proven to be equally flexible in her schedule as she is dedicated. Normally, she volunteers once a week, sometimes twice a week, and remains there all day long.
Offering a helping hand has never proven to be a challenge for her. If anything, the real challenge is ensuring that she has done enough to help.
“The challenge is wondering whether or not I helped enough, because the day goes by fast when you are in there and you don’t realize that,” she said.
Even without being recognized as Volunteer of the Year, being able to watch the students, especially her son, grow and learn is reward enough for her.
The students she works with are hungry for knowledge and eager to obtain it by whatever means, even by something as mundane as testing.
“I guess we made it fun for kids because they don’t see it as testing, as something they have to do, it’s something they want to do,” she said. “It makes you feel like you really helped them to learn, to achieve what they wanted to do. It’s just a wonderful feeling to see the kids succeed in what they are doing.”