Volunteers Give Teachers A Helping Hand

"There you go. That's a good job," Matt Renninger told a little boy.

Renninger looks out of place in a class full of Kindergartners. He is a not a teacher. He's a college senior from New York.

"I'm going to law school next year, and this isn't what I thought I'd be doing, because I never really experienced kids. I'm an only child and stuff," said Renninger.

Renninger and 20 other volunteers are part of the "Hands-On Network." They're spending their spring break, giving teachers at Pass Road Elementary a much-needed break.

Rachel Cantlay is a volunteer from New Jersey. When asked why she's in school, she smiled and said "We're in school today because there are just adorable little kids that need some help. So we're here and having a great time."

Becca Rich is from Boston and has been cleaning houses here since November. Being in the classroom and seeing the little faces helps her understand why she came to South Mississippi.

"You spend a whole week gutting houses, and you don't see anybody. You don't interact with the community and it's just remembering why you're spending your time gutting houses," Rich said.

"The kids love them," said Kindergarten Teacher Cissy Taylor. "It's been really good, because some of the behavior problems that I've had in my room with boys, having Matt in here has been really wonderful for them."

And it's been a memorable spring break for the volunteers, too.

Matt said, "It's a lot better than just lying on the beach, and doing what most people are doing. I think this is a lot more rewarding experience I should say for all of us. Especially just to help the kids out, that's enough in itself."

The volunteers aren't just helping out at the school during spring break. The "Hands-On Network" plans to continue the tutoring program for as long as possible.