Story shared by Steven, Volunteer Coach

School was always a panic situation for me when I was a child. Right from the start, I didn’t like Kindergarten. I never felt like I belonged. When I had trouble learning, my Dad would try to help me but he would get frustrated and angry. The result was I had no self-confidence and stopped trying. I didn’t finish high school. I got a job in a foundry but didn’t like it. I got a job in construction and was doing okay until I was injured on the job. Now I’m taking a retraining course as part of Worker’s Compensation.

My daughter took part in the Letters, Sounds and Words™ program and it really helped her. Then, I saw a notice in the school newsletter about needing volunteers for the program. I had always wanted to be more involved in my daughter’s school so, here I am.

With the training I got as a Strong Start® Volunteer Coach I feel I can really help. One of the things I do is to encourage the children to be ‘loud and proud’ of themselves. I give them things to do like getting the Strong Start materials from the shelf and getting them ready on the table, just like assembling your tools on a construction job. It makes them feel good to be able to do that on their own. Being happy with your set up, that’s important! If they’re waiting to be told here and can’t think for themselves, then they’re probably waiting and not thinking in other areas too. They need to be able to problem-solve or at least know how to get started at problem-solving. Simple steps like going and getting their materials gives them practice in self-direction. It gives them confidence.