This volunteer profile originally appeared in this month's CharlottesvilleFamily Magazine's BRAVO! column and is reprinted here with their permission.
When Diana Amatucci retired from teaching after 35 years, most of them at Stony Point Elementary School, she quickly realized that she missed the kids and began looking around for a volunteer opportunity. She did not have to look far, as her husband credits his childhood experience at a Boys Club (now Boys & Girls) in Reading, PA, with exposing him to a world of opportunities. She contacted the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia and was quickly immersed in tutoring kids after school in their Cherry Avenue club.
“Diana makes each child feel special,” says Rebecca Hengstler, the Cherry Avenue unit director. “She gives the kids one-on-one attention they might not get otherwise. She uses her skills as a teacher and mother and friend and makes each one feel that what they say matters.”
Making a personal connection with the kids is one of Amatucci’s biggest rewards. “One little boy named Malaki comes to mind...I mentioned to him that his name was also the name of a beautiful green mineral "malachite" that comes from the Congo in Africa. We read information together about the gem and I brought him two small samples - one polished stone and one in its natural state. He was delighted, and his mom said he treasures them!”
Amatucci encourages others to volunteer with area youth; “Having kids make connections to their world is what learning is all about… our children are the future and will hopefully change the world for the better!”
January is National Mentoring Month. United Way’s Volunteer Center is sponsoring a Mentor & Tutor Volunteer Fair at the Omni Hotel on January 27 from 11 – 2. You can meet folks from the Boys & Girls Club and a dozen more local organizations. Visit www.CvilleVolunteer.org for more information.
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