BY AVA CONLEY
I am a firm believer that we at CGM have the best volunteers in the world. We could not function at Common Ground Montgomery without the faithfulness of our volunteers. They serve whole-heartedly on a weekly to daily basis. I am constantly blown away by how God is using our volunteers in our program, our community and our city! I would love to take a moment to highlight another one of the amazing people that the Lord has brought to us!
Tori is one of our staff members and serves in the office at CGM, BUT she faithfully serves in our after school program and leads a bible study for 1st and 2nd grade girls. She may get a pay check, but she goes above and beyond to serve and I am so grateful to her! I definitely consider her one of our most faithful volunteers! I wanted to take a moment and have her answer a few questions about her experiences at CGM.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with CGM?
I have been working with Common Ground for nine months now, since January.
Q: Why do you love coming to CGM?
I love coming to CGM because I am surrounded by supportive people that encourage me in my walk with Christ and as I strive to share my faith with the students I engage with. I learn something new (and usually unexpected) from them every day and I love it!
Q: What is your favorite area to volunteer in?
My favorite area to volunteer with is the academic part of the after school program and also Bible study. Last week I worked with some of the third grade girls on their spelling homework. We made this monotonous task into a competitive game to help the girls learn their words. It was so rewarding to listen to them brag about their spelling test scores the next day. It's important to get the students excited about education in order to truly develop an appreciation of it so that they can share it with others. Kids view their knowledge as something they can take pride in as it is solely their possession. We can teach and preach all we want, but if they are not involved and engaged they will not retain the valuable information and lessons we strive to instill.
I taught my first Bible study last Wednesday and it was an exciting new experience for me. I didn't want the girls to be forced to sit and listen to me talk because that is not very effective with younger students so I made the lesson discussion-based and allowed them to talk in small groups. Many of the girls were eager to pray and share their thoughts which I found very encouraging. I can't wait to see what God has in store for me and my class over the next few months!
Q: Who is your favorite staff person?
Jamal Doaty: I have had the great experience of watching Doaty grow into an incredible staff member. Over the summer he went above and beyond to make the summer camp a success! Now, in the After School Program he has developed a strong relationship with the middle school boys and is working to start a boys basketball team. His words of encouragement have continually helped me grow and I know God has incredible plans with this man.
Q: How has volunteering at CGM impacted you?
Volunteering at CGM has greatly impacted my life. I don't mean that in a cliché way whatsoever. I have grown closer to God by simply being around such encouraging followers of Christ. I think that I have matured as a Christian because I used to view my relationship with God as something personal and private, but working with such amazing role models has shown me how freeing and beneficial it is to share this incredible aspect of my life with others in a more open manner. This is a work environment like no other! My coworkers have become family. I am grateful to be able to seek advice and encouragement from them without fear of judgment. Being in the military, this is not something I am accustomed to at all and it has completely warmed my heart. In addition to growing as a Christian, I have learned so much from the teachers here at CGM! As a future educator, I am always making mental notes on how I can manage my classroom and engage my students in the future. I want to develop the kind of relationship that Chaquana and Doaty have with their students with my own. They have great control of their classes and are genuinely respected by their students. I can't wait to use everything I have learned from them in my own classroom!
Thank you for all you do, Miss Tori! I know I can speak for all the staff and kids at CGM - We love you!
If you would like more information about becoming a volunteer, please contact Ava Conley by calling the office (334.593.5803) or using the volunteer contact form.