In the article, “The Rhetorician as an Agent of Social Change”, written by Ellen Cushman, I believe that the way I feel about ACCESS is shown. “A gift that is not returned can become a debt, a lasting obligation. Depending on the terms of the exchange, this obligation can either be in the form of a monetary debt, which imposes “overtly economic obligations by the usurer”, or in the form of ethical debt, which produces “moral obligations and emotional attachment created and maintained by the generous gift.” (380)
This quotation explains why I believe that the children at ACCESS were sad to see our class stop tutoring. Because we as tutors gave the children a “gift” of our help, they in turn developed and ethical obligation which created an emotional attachment. This can best be demonstrated with my relationship with my pen pal. I believe that in some way because I helped her for so many weeks and she was unable to repay me, that she was sad to see me go. She was also sad to see me go due to the fact that an emotional bond was created on a different level. This type of bond came about because she was used to seeing me every Monday and that she was used to receiving emails from me periodically during the week. But the bond didn’t only occur with her. In fact, I think the bond is just as strong, if not stronger with myself. I am still going to attend ACCESS whenever I have time because I too have a bond with the children, most of all my pen pal.
Another reason I decided to do this, although it is not longer required for the class, is because I realized that taking an hour and a half out of my week to help others is not much to ask and that I should do things that do not only benefit myself. Tutoring at ACCESS not only helped the children, but it also helped me. When I came home from ACCESS every Monday I felt as if I did help someone and I felt good about doing that. And although I would still complain about having to stop what I was doing on Mondays and get in my car to drive to tutor, in the end when I got home I felt better about myself knowing that I helped someone else.
In the article, “Community Service and Critical Teaching”, by Bruce Herzberg, another way about how I feel about ACCESS is expressed. “Many students become eager volunteers after the ice is broken by class projects and they can see where they can go, how they can help.”
I believe that quote reflects how I feel. In the beginning I was not at all eager to tutor at ACCESS. The first day I was intimidated and felt as if I would never enjoy my tutoring there. I was constantly looking at the clock and wishing that it would be time to leave. But as the weeks went on and I became more comfortable with the center and the people there, I became more willing to tutor, tutoring became more fun, and I no longer was watching the clock to see when it would be time for me to leave. Had it not been for the class requirement of tutoring at ACCESS, I never would have known that they were in need of tutors and I would have not known that there was anything that I could have done to help.
In conclusion, tutoring at ACCESS made me see that even the littlest things can make a person happy. The email I would send to my pen pal would make her day, when I thought that the email was short and didn’t say anything. It made me realize that even though you may think that something you do isn’t important, that it may be to someone else. So because of my tutoring at ACCESS I feel that I have a more positive outlook on life and am a more open-minded person.