The fellow, Erika, representing Reading Partners at a booth

Reflection on My Two Years at Reading Partners

As I wrapped my time at Reading Partners, the way we interacted with students shifted enormously. My time with students came to an end earlier than expected. The way I interacted with community partners became part of my virtual reality. 

In this new era, I reflect on my time at Reading Partners in which I can envision the growth that I’ve had. Both professionally and personally. Utilizing my love of reading to create social change was a driver in my day-to-day work. I endeavored with the task of serving our students to the highest caliber possible. Each student I worked with brought unique challenges and possibilities as we engaged with material that allowed them to read. With each volunteer and community partner that I connected with, I shared my passion for the organization and the work that was happening on the ground. Our volunteer driven program was the key to operating the program and driver for our success. 

When I think of the two years that have passed, I think about the hundreds of books that I’ve read with kids. I recall the one-on-one tutoring that I engaged in. I think about our site coordinators who operated the reading centers and I established fond friendships with. I reimagine my place in a community where I learned to foster relationships with leaders. I think about my ability to translate day-to-day work to data and compelling stories. 

My time at Reading Partners has concluded but my biggest takeaway is that the work that we do is key to the success of our students. Our students matter, community matters and reading matters. 



Erika Apupalo was an FAO Schwarz Fellow at Reading Partners in New York and graduated from the Fellowship in 2020. She is now the College Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at Project Sunshine.