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An Interview with a Volunteer: Adam Schauer

September 3, 2019

It didn’t take long for Adam Schauer to become a devoted member of the Heart Math Tutoring volunteer team. Heart Tutoring’s ability to “immediately impact” the Charlotte community is what first intrigued Adam, a Client Portfolio Manager at Barings, about serving with us years ago. We recently sat down with Adam to hear what makes being a Heart Tutoring volunteer special, in his own words.

“You don’t even think about math. You’re just interacting with them.”

Beyond instilling the life skills that come with learning basic math, Adam says it’s the opportunity to mentor and positively impact children’s lives that makes the experience so rewarding. And Heart Tutoring’s playful approach to teaching math is a natural way to strengthen those mentor-mentee relationships, he reflects. Because the lesson plans are easy to grasp, and oriented around games and interactive problem-solving, children learn by way of connection.

Adam & his partner tutor, Mike with their student

Adam says he enjoys engaging with children at their various learning levels and engaging in “friendly competitions” with his partner teacher to give the most fun or interesting lesson each week. “[My partner and I] try to make it a fun, entertaining, playful environment,” he says. “We’ll joke and ask our student whose lesson he liked more that week.”

HMT Note: This also challenges the student to reflect on their previous lesson. Way to go, Adam!

“30 minutes is all it takes.”

Charlotte professionals like Adam tend to stay busy in and outside of work. But Adam encourages those considering Heart Tutoring to not let the time commitment dissuade them from taking that step. As Adam puts it, “volunteering just 30 minutes per week during limited times of the year can have a lasting snowball effect on the long-term development of these children.”

“It’s refreshing to step out of the busy world and step into time with someone who needs more support and help than we realize,” he says. Thirty minutes a week can leave a lifetime impression, and to help maximize that positive impact, Adam started a carpool to make volunteering that much easier for his Barings colleagues.

“The long-term impact is their interest in learning more.”

Beyond the successful math lessons, the biggest reward for Adam is seeing Heart Tutoring kids develop a new curiosity in general learning. “Obviously you want them to have an ability to grow through academics … But the longer-term impact – where you can really see the kids come out of their shell – is their interest in learning more. They bring an excitement to their tutoring session and they take that excitement home, to other studies, to telling their friends.”

Adam, his partner tutor, Mike, with their student & her mom

“That’s what keeps me coming back.”

With the responsibility to mentor comes what he calls a “welcome challenge.” Recognizing that all children respond differently to guidance and direction, Adam strives to approach every interaction with his students uniquely. “Once you make that connection with a child, you really start building a strong relationship. And that’s what keeps me coming back the most,” he says.

“It’s the laughs, the giggles, the challenges.”

One testament to the great impact of these tutoring sessions, Adam says, is interacting with students long after the sessions have ended. When you see them in the halls even years later, “they run up to you, give you a high-five; they remember you and the impact you made.” Adam says it’s “the laughs, the giggles, the challenges” that sum up his favorite aspects of being a Heart Tutoring volunteer.

We’re grateful for Adam and his fellow Heart Math Tutoring colleagues from Barings. They are so giving of their time and financial generosity – and we wouldn’t make the same impact without them!

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