Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month

July 1, 2019

Gayle Nygaard
Name:  Gayle Nygaard
Property:  Wexford Way

Why did you choose to volunteer with Eden Housing?

I spent many years working as a math teacher and miss connecting with students. I currently work as an instructional designer for Workday. While planning a Giving & Doing activity for an internal Workday training event, I coordinated with Eden Housing for a back-to-school-backpack event. When I learned Eden Housing had an after school program that needed volunteers to tutor, I was more than happy to help. 

What have you done as a volunteer?  Please describe your role and what you have worked on.

I help students with their homework in the after school program once a week at the Wexford Way Community Center. Not only do we work on math, but we work on reading, spelling and problem solving. I’ve helped students from 1st grade to 7th grade. I enjoy helping the kids and have seen a lot of progress in their confidence and abilities over the past few months.

What have you learned through your volunteer experience?  Have there been any surprises?

I learn something every visit from the kids. They teach me about resiliency and bring a smile to my face every time! There have been so many surprising and wonderful moments. My favorite moments are the “golden teaching moments” when I watch the students teach each other a new skill I helped them with. Their confidence, patience, and delight in learning is inspiring. One of the biggest surprises for me was helping a 1st grade student tell time with a traditional circle clock. She was the first youngster I’ve worked with who really hadn’t seen a traditional clock. Explaining to her how to tell “non-digital” time was a new one for me!

What do you like best about volunteering with Eden Housing?

The kids! Helping them on their journey, planting seeds of knowledge, and watching them blossom over time is a fantastic gift.

Are there any tips that you would share for someone else who is considering volunteering?

Volunteering brings so much joy to yourself as well as to others. It is a privilege and a priceless gift. I am fortunate to have an employer who supports Giving and Doing as part of their mission as a company. Not only do they allow me flexibility in my work schedule to volunteer, they contribute financially to organizations we give our time to.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life?

During my time as a middle school math and computer instructor, I sponsored a number of teams in math competitions. Not only did we participate, but we often took top honors!  We celebrated Pi Day each year on 3/14 at 1:59pm by singing original math songs and eating pie. One year, we even performed an original “Quadratic Formula” song – complete with Stomp-like choreography at the school talent show. I recently adopted a kitten and named her Sweetie Pi! (Yes, I am a true math nerd.)