Not many people consider math a “feel-good subject.” But don’t try telling that to John Meneghetti.

It’s rewarding “to see the smile on a student’s face when they have confronted a math problem and seen the challenge solved,” says John, an NCNB investment manager who is the East Dallas/Lakewood Advocate Volunteer of the Month.

John has volunteered with the East Dallas-based Communities in Schools program for two years. He meets weekly with Kalin Smart, a sophomore at Madison High School, providing academic instruction, personal encouragement and a positive male role model.

“I encourage kids to get a strong background in math because it is the key to understanding many other subjects in school, and without it, career choices are limited,” John says.

“I want them to see the opportunities that are open to them. Also, helping someone overcome the same handicap that I had really motivates me.”

The father of six grown children, John lives near White Rock Lake.

East Dallas/Lakewood Volunteer Opportunities

Communities in Schools, 2804 Swiss Avenue, was founded in 1979 to prevent elementary- through high school-age children from dropping out of school, says Sandra Chavarria, agency executive director. More than 1,700 students received assistance during the 1989-1990 school year, with 91% of the seniors graduating. By comparison, approximately 30% of Texas students drop out of school prior to graduation, says Patricia DeMauro, community relations director.

The agency recruits volunteers to serve as tutors, mentors and speakers. Assistance is provided to students attending five schools in the Dallas Independent School District.

More than 200 volunteers – including professionals, college students and senior citizens – donated 5,000 hours last year. For more information, call the agency at 827-0955.

The Wilkinson Center, 5200 Bryan Street, is a project of the East Dallas Cooperative Parish, a coalition of eight East Dallas churches helping low-income families. The center runs a food pantry, a job bank and a clothing room. Volunteers are needed to interview clients, as well as to sort and distribute food and clothing, answer phones and do clerical work. If you would like to volunteer for EDCP, call Volunteer Coordinator Doris Fair at 823-9149.

Amnesty International works for the release of prisoners of conscience, provided they have neither used nor advocated violence. The group also works for fair and prompt trials for political prisoners and an end to torture and executions. The Texas office for AI is located near Knox Street on North Central Expressway. Its volunteer needs are mostly clerical: data entry, casework filing and sorting, telephone reception, and mailings. AI is preparing for the April 5-13 March Against the Death Penalty in Austin. To volunteer, call 521-6778 and ask for Margaret or Jon.

Dallas Can Academy, 2601 Live Oak Street, takes a holistic approach to helping people obtain high school equivalency diplomas (GED). Each client is assigned a volunteer tutor who will help the client study for the GED exam and assess other needs such as alcohol and drug abuse counseling, and clothing. If you would like to be a volunteer tutor, call Sherry Hodo at 821-5766.

If you are interested in volunteering, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas County at 826-6767. The Volunteer Center matches prospective volunteers with agencies throughout East Dallas and other portions of Dallas.

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