Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Ann Furuichi

Longtime volunteer Mary Ann Furuichi recently shared with BSV some wonderful reflections on her volunteer experience this year. Enjoy! 

I retired from the former Jefferson School in Berkeley which is now Ruth Acty Elementary School 25 years ago, so I consider it my anniversary in the BUSD.

After retiring, I was a substitute teacher for many years and recently a volunteer in a first grade class at Berkeley Arts Magnet School. Because of my affection for children and a strong desire to teach, volunteering has given me a wonderful opportunity to help others.

Because of the pandemic, the children, as well as the teacher and I, are managing by wearing masks, although uncomfortable. The class is very tolerant during in-person learning. They never complain since it’s a way of life for them now.

My Host Teacher Ruby Palmer-Ghose is an excellent instructor and I’m fortunate to have been placed with her. I often wish I was a student in her class while observing her technique and challenging instruction. She plays recorded music and uses a Tahitian singing bowl which helps the children to focus on their breathing and relax as they listen in a soothing and calm environment.

The children are the highlight of my day. When I walk around assisting them, a child, for instance, compliments the mask I’m wearing. What a charmer he is. Another student who has learning difficulties noticed my finger was slightly bleeding from a hangnail and he ran to the first aid kit and even put a bandage around it. What compassion he already has. Yet another asked if I’d be her friend, forever. These are ways in which the children display how precious they are.

I’m grateful to BSV for offering educational opportunities for us senior citizen retirees. With time on our hands, it fills many facets of our lives:

something to do,
something to look forward to, and
someone or children to love

Thank you for being a part of the BSV community, Mary Ann!

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