Patient, kind, warm, calm. These are examples of words that have been used to describe Safina Sachedina, a volunteer with the Calgary Public Library’s ‘TD Read With Me’ program since 2009. Safina’s been working and reading with her young buddy, Shenise, for an hour a week at a library branch since October 2009. Shenise will graduate from the program later in Summer 2012, as she’s completed Gr. 6, and she credits Safina with helping her a lot over the almost three years they’ve worked together:
‘It’s been really, really good working with Safina. I feel really confident in my reading now. She’s really, really nice and doesn’t get frustrated if I don’t understand. I feel comfortable with Safina and she really understands when I have rough days…I don’t have to read then, we can play games instead. We’ve become friends.’
Michelle, Shenise’s mom, elaborates on the help that Safina has provided to her daughter through the program:
‘It’s been wonderful. We couldn’t have asked for a better fit than we got with Safina. She’s the most patient person I’ve ever met. She’s been able to break-down the barriers that Shenise puts up on bad days. They’re very in-tune with each other and have developed a real friendship. Safina has not only helped to develop Shenise’s reading skills but has also helped to raise her self-esteem and has been more like a mentor to her.’
According to Safina, the feeling goes both ways. ‘It’s been really good, working with Shenise and her family. I’ve really gotten to know her well and she’s a good girl and so fun. We’ve bonded really well and I’ve seen her grow a lot in confidence in general across the years. I see her going far in life. She’ll have to work hard (don’t we all! J) but she’ll get there!’
Thank you, Safina, for all your dedication to the program over the past 3 years! And best of luck to you, Shenise, in junior high in the fall!