PETERSBURG, VA – When Lindell Jefferson walks into a room, he exudes humility and graciousness. His quick, quiet wit demands you pay attention, or risk missing something important when he speaks.
Lindell joined the 18-19 Literacy Lab tutor cohort with an internalized drive to give back which stemmed from a desire to repay the support provided to him as a young kid learning to read.
“Growing up, I struggled with reading,” he said. “I had people who helped me along the way.”
Now, he has become one of those people, a change-maker, motivated by a passion to help others succeed.
A Pleasant Surprise
On his first day, Lindell drove to Pleasants Lane tasked with a list of next steps to build relationships in the school community. As he neared the building, his feelings of excitement mixed with apprehension gave way to complete surprise. The school that he would serve for the next 10 months was the same school that he had attended as an elementary student more than a decade before.
Lindell had never expected that would be the case.
“It had a different name back then. They changed it,” he said. “So, when I first got my placement, I knew it was in Petersburg, but, at first, didn’t realize it was the same school.”
When Lindell learned that he would be working alongside some of the same teachers who taught him when he was a young child and would be serving the same community where he grew up, he got pretty emotional.
“I walked into the building, and when I saw my 4th-grade teacher, when she saw me, I almost cried,” he said. “She was so proud to see how far I’ve come and what I’m doing to give back.”
Giving Back and Making an Impact
Over the past eight months, Lindell has faithfully implemented data-driven interventions that have propelled his students’ academic growth. He has utilized positive engagement strategies and has created individualized instruction plans for his students. The results are noticeable, both in the performance and confidence of his students.
While he has helped to propel his students’ achievement forward, Lindell’s impact on the school community extends far beyond his daily tutoring routine. He and his co-tutor regularly support school staff by assisting with the planning and implementation of extracurricular programs and activities. Two of their recent events, according to Lindell, embodied a key element that defines the spirit of Pleasants Lane.
“It’s the inclusiveness,” Lindell said. With the Literacy Lab tutors’ help, the school organized two social events, a father figure-daughter dance, and a mother figure-son dance, to include all students, and to celebrate their families’ and mentors’ engagement in their education.
In essence, the team at Pleasants Lane makes sure that everyone feels welcomed and loved. Lindell has both benefited from that love and helped to share it with his students.
As the end of the year quickly approaches, Lindell continues to support his students every day as they prepare for upcoming standardized tests. He helps them navigate academic pressures and develop meaningful social skills. Currently, he’s considering returning to serve for a second year at Pleasants Lane.
As a Literacy Lab tutor, Lindell has surely accomplished what he came here to do. He has given back to his school and community in honor of those that helped him succeed.
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