Senior Teen Leader Spotlight: Charice

Highlighting Youth Voices In Their Own Words


Age: 16
Borough: Brooklyn
Favorite Book: Brave New World
Place I Most Want to Visit: France
Career Aspirations: Teacher, teaching French to English speakers or English to French speakers.
Most Important Quality in a Student: Open-mindedness
Favorite Subject: French
Favorite Celebrity: Zendaya

They’ll remember you for the rest of their lives.

Working with Kids

I loved the idea of teaching kids to read so much. When I started with Read Alliance, last summer, I got sent to Far Rockaway, and it was an hour-long commute every day, but I love the idea of instating knowledge in such young people. It’s amazing to me that something as fundamental as reading—which people need to get through their everyday lives—that I would be able to help a child learn. I just loved the idea of it.

The kids are full of energy but they’re really sweet and caring. Every day they run up to the door when it’s time to read and want to be the first to receive their folder, even though they’re all going to get their folders. And they have so much love to give. A kid asked me my favorite color and I said “green.” He pulled out a dark green pencil from his bag and said, “This is for you.”

Making an Impact

Childhood is underrated in that people don’t realize how big of an effect they can have on kids. Children are going to remember who taught them to read in second grade after school. I tell tutors to be patient with the kids because even if you’re having a bad day, they might be having one, too. The nicer you are, the easier it is for everyone to get what they need done. They’ll remember you for the rest of their lives.

Leadership Characteristics

I’m a lead tutor which means I have to be very patient and caring, not only towards the students but also towards the tutors. Although I orchestrate everything, the tutors are very important to the operation. I need to make sure everyone knows that they’re making a difference and that they’re appreciated and what they do matters. 

Partnering with the READ Teacher

We have a connection because we both know the kids and the tutors. She’s really nice but also a good teacher who knows how to manage the classroom—she’s a good person to be around in terms of learning how to work with kids. I’m still a student but it’s cool because at Read Alliance we are, to an extent, equals.

Skills for Her Future

This is my first job. From not even being employed a year ago and now having a job supervising others, I’ve learned so many skills: how to manage my money, how to  communicate with different people, including the READ teacher--people I wouldn’t have spoken with a year ago. I’ll take my communications skills and my patience with me into the future.

Before the READ program, with my parents giving me an allowance, I could never save any money--it was just, like, gone. Now I’m better about that. I try not to spend money when I don’t have to.