Carol Fleming’s journey with Brilliant Detroit began all the way in Switzerland back in March of 2020. Even though Carol was on the other side of the world, she kept tabs on her home of Detroit by watching the local news. It was during this time that she first became familiar with Brilliant Detroit. “I saw a news segment on the wonderful work that Brilliant was doing for the community by helping kids learn to read and the opportunity it provided for many families to socialize together.” She knew even then she wanted to volunteer and become a part of the Brilliant Family, but at the time she was still under strict lockdown due to the Pandemic and could only make donations from afar.
As soon as she returned to Detroit in 2021, she fulfilled her desire for purpose and became one of our rockstar Experience Corps tutors and loves it more than ever. “Tutoring makes me feel needed and gives me purpose. It makes me happy to see the impact that I create.” To Carol, what you read impacts the world and she particularly loves children’s books because there’s so many life lessons that can be found within their simplicity.
Before becoming a beloved tutor with Experience Corps, Carol was a teacher for 47 years in the Pontiac School District, teaching mostly special education and children with special needs in a wild array of subjects, trades, and life skills. There she learned patience, understanding of various needs and challenges, and the power of being around youth. “It’s important to be around other people from different ages. There’s power and beauty in intergenerational connections.”
Carol Fleming has been an Experience Corps tutor at several Brilliant Detroit Hubs over the past couple of years. Experience Corps is an intergenerational, volunteer-based tutoring program that engages adults age 50 and older as literacy tutors for struggling students in public schools and is sponsored by AARP. Why the name Experience Corps? Carol put it in her own words best, “That’s who we are; we are parents & grandparents from all walks of life who have life experiences and a desire to share our time with others.”
If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Carol Fleming or having her as a tutor, you may wonder, how does she manage to stay looking so young and have such a vibrant presence? Well if you ask her, she’ll tell you the answer to staying young is volunteering with youth! “Being around young people keeps the elders young. It’s the energy. Volunteering gives elders something to do, so you live longer. It gives you company, much needed connections, and you feel a sense of community.” Tutoring with Brilliant Detroit through Experience Corps has been a great experience for Carol and though this summer has been a little busy for her, she can’t wait to return in the fall. While the tutoring sessions have been mostly online so far, her only wish is that soon she can meet all the children in person. Until that day comes, we all look forward to Carol returning over Zoom!
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