Paying it Forward

Kemberly Barrios is a fifth grade Whiz Kid at Linwood Elementary and is already thinking about college. One day she asked her tutor, Kay Bluethman, “Do you think if I become a good reader I’ll be able to get into college?”

“She’s so dedicated,” says Kay, “I want to do everything I can to help her.”

“Well… you help me, so I want to help someone too.”

In addition to tutoring, Kay also wanted to help Kemberly build her resume through volunteer activities, so when she heard that her church, Quail Springs United Methodist Church, was going to the Food Bank, she immediately thought it would be a great opportunity to take Kemberly.

“We had been talking about doing some community service. I think it’s important for her to see that there are lots of people worse off than her.”

Kay didn’t have to twist her Kemberly’s arm to go. “She is very giving,” says Kay. “When I asked her to come, she said, ‘Well…you help me, so I want to help someone too.’”

Kemberly is also very competitive. She wanted to stuff boxes faster than Kay. They ended up having a race. Before they left, Kemberly told Kay, “Next time you volunteer, I want to go.”

Kay plans to continue helping Kemberly build her resume. She wants to document and take pictures of Kemberly’s volunteer activities so that she will be well prepared for college applications. “I think it’s not only important for Kemberly to have good grades, but also to demonstrate good leadership skills. Volunteer work is a good way to show that.”