Kara Walker: It feels good to get connected with other people

Published 7:43 pm Sunday, October 3, 2021

Kara Walker, a Sulphur resident, uses her extra time to volunteer at SC3 as an adult literacy tutor. The mother of five who home-schools her children said the endeavor is a family affair.

“It feels good to get connected with other people and get my kids involved volunteering. Seeing that there are needs right here, SC3 helps me to show my kids there are plenty of things you can do for others right here in Sulphur.”

Walker has worked with the same male student for more than two years. While, there are some similarities between teaching adults and children, Walker said the differences are really heartwarming.

“Adults actually know the value (of reading) more than a kid does,” she said.

“You get to see that come alive inside of them because they know the value of being able to read. Kids think, ‘This is just what I have to do.’ But for an adult, it means the world for them.”

Walker meets weekly with her 60-year-old student using a curriculum she’s used with her own children. One of the challenges of working with an adult, she said, is helping them face and overcome their discouragement.

“Most students are not getting only one to two lessons a week. They’re getting five solid lessons a week…For an adult, he wants it so bad but sees how difficult it is. As a kid, they’re like, ‘Oh well, I don’t get this today but maybe tomorrow.’ For him, he feels that lack of progress.”

Walker said as his tutor, it’s her job not only to instruct him but make sure he stays encouraged even in the difficult moments. “I believe that he can read. I believe in him far more than he believes in himself,” she said.

The relationship, however, is about way more than just phonetics and reading, she said. “The value has been in the friendship that we have and my children have with him.”

Fishing, holiday dinners and a priceless relationship has been birthed out of the simple act of helping someone who couldn’t help themselves. Equally rewarding is the personal satisfaction and legacy she is leaving her children, she said.

“Somebody once told me, ‘If you’re struggling with time management or you’re lonely, look outside and help somebody else. I’m not lonely at home but I’m saying helping somebody else is about way more than just how I feel…It’s way more than a feeling. This is what I’ve committed to do. He needs someone to help and that’s me,” she said.

“Also, my children are able to see that and participate in doing something you don’t always feel like doing. It’s completely for someone else and I could never teach them that lesson by just telling them.”