In six years of coordinating for SMART, I have seen a lot of success. I worked with a lot of kids who had very little experience with English and communicating with adults. I think that is where we saw our greatest improvement. Kids became more confident and improved their communication and language skills. This also relates to their reading ability. Teachers would inform me about the improvements in their students’ reading skills and increased participation in the classroom.
A positive byproduct that coincides with SMART is the community building. The school where I worked had just been closed because of budget problems. Before this school closed down, it was really great to see members of our community come together and dedicate themselves to working with the students. Community members developed friendships with one and other. It was a great way for people to get to know each other. This is something that naturally happens with the SMART program. I know it is not the initial goal of the program, but it is another benefit of the program.
In all the time I have been involved with SMART, I have never heard a negative comment about it. From the staff, administrators, volunteers and students, everyone has always been extremely supportive. Because of that, it is a really great organization to work for.