Name: John Nushin
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Program: Foster Grandparent volunteer with Pathways Middle School for 2 years
What led you to join Senior Corps?
I friend told me about Senior Corps’ Foster Grandparent program. He told me that Foster Grandparent volunteers are able to help special students who are dealing with challenges such as trauma and broken homes. All these students need compassion and caring. All my life I have been a teacher and have helped students, so I joined Foster Grandparents. My main interest and wish is to be helpful.
For the last two years, I worked with middle school students. I helped tutor them in mathematics. Always my students asked me, “Why are you doing this? Do you get paid?” I told them I do not have a salary, but your happiness, helping solve your problems … that is my reward.
What’s the most surprising thing you have learned during your term of service?
I will never forget working with one very smart student. He was always making trouble and having problems. When I tutored him, he always did things to get into trouble. I asked him, “Why are you doing this?” He told me, “It is my mission to give the teachers a hard time.” Then I asked him, “Why? What do you hope to accomplish?” It stopped him in his tracks. He couldn’t think of an answer. I asked him if he wanted to go through life making people unhappy, not liking him, not respecting him. It affected him, and made him stop and think. Now he is completely changed. He has become more respectful and focused on school. I think understanding, compassion, and caring go a long way to helping people.
What inspires you?
The change I can make in a student and the appreciation the teachers give inspires me. My desire that I am doing something for the community. I moved here from Afghanistan. And I love this country. Now that I am retired, I want to help students and give back to the community.
What words would your program director would use to describe you?
My program director describes me as passionate and helpful.