Volunteer Corner: Suzie Cordero | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner: Suzie Cordero

The Adventure, Risk and Challenge program (ARC), which is going into its fourth year, brings together English language learners for a backcountry academic program that both leaders and participants say pushes students to excel at school and beyond.

The program has its homebase at UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station north of Truckee. The station provides a location for the program and brings in researchers to teach the students about the environment.

The sister of a co-worker of mine was talking about it. She gave me Katie Zanto’s (ARC program director) phone number and I called her up and she said, “I could use your help now!”

I’ve helped with Interview Day. Katie invites about 10 people from the community. They (students) prepare interview questions. Some of them have never done that kind of preparation. I try to make it easy for them. Katie creates a really loving, warm, nurturing environment which most of the kids need.

They are all special in their own right. Some bring humor. Some bring academics. Some bring a kind or nurturing effect.

Yes. It helps, but Katie prefers everybody speaks English. I can identify with them culturally. I also volunteer as an English tutor through Nevada County library. I have three students that I meet with. Tutoring is open to anybody who is out of high school or are adults, and not just Mexican-Americans but all students.

What other ARC activities have you participated in?

The adventure part is great. I’ve done the ropes course with them. That was a great experience for me. Watching a kid climb a 40-foot pole ” they emerge from this cocoon to this butterfly.

I get teary-eyed talking about this. The impact it has on these kids ” the kids’ ability to see outside of their own surroundings. They truly go from these little cocoons to these butterflies and they fly.

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