by Allison Hoyle
I joined CBOB in 2007 after a friend from Sabor Latino, UF’s Latino Dance Team, mentioned it to me. I knew as soon as I met the executive team and the other volunteers it would be a life changing experience, but I had no idea at the time that CBOB would launch my career into non-profit education.
The children, of course, won me over. It was remarkable seeing their excitement and eagerness to come to our workshops every day after a full day of school. They advocated for their learning, and told us how they wanted to learn advanced math and to speak English. I would leave every day with letters and notes from the kids, and head home to prepare the lesson plan for the following day.
But it was really that first taste of teaching that hooked me. I loved the creativity of coming up with a lesson plan that would engage each child in the room in a slightly different way. I thoroughly enjoyed the rush of adrenaline I got from improvising if the lesson didn’t go quite according to plan. It’s electrifying to stand in front of a room of 60 energetic children and matching their energy in order to reach them. When you are finally able to make that connection and they learn something new, it feels amazing.
I joined CBOB because I was looking for community, but I truly learned about myself as an educator and as a leader. I found my way into the classroom after graduation. I started teaching elementary school with Teach For America and teaching in Overtown, Miami. Now I work as a Program Manager at Reading Partners, a national literacy organization that reaches about 1,000 students in New York City, and 11,000 nationally. I get to flex my teaching muscles and work with committed volunteers and educators that inspire me daily.
On the board of CBOB now, I am ecstatic to see how it has grown and increased its impact. It is wonderful hearing about hard-working volunteers going back to Cartagena and Medellin and the complex workshops they develop for the children.