“I have been called to pursue a Christian life and so I try to be alert to opportunities of service where I can show kindness and compassion.”
After mourning the loss of his wife last year, Dwight felt led to help others. He chose to serve as part of the St. Andrew’s Literacy Team, helping the kids of Whittier Elementary.
Dwight, 83, joined St. Andrew’s in 1976 after moving his family to Orange County. Prior to that, he attended law school, led the anti-trust division of the US Department of Justice, ran his own law practice and spent ten years in the US Attorney’s office.
A barrier is broken every time this affluent, educated older white man steps into the classroom to read to academically struggling, low-income Hispanic children.
Each week Dwight volunteers in a third grade classroom and reads to the lowest achieving students, who are generally reading at a first grade level. A fluent Spanish speaker, Dwight greets each child in their native tongue, making them feel special. He cares for them and helps them to understand what they are reading. He motivates and encourages the kids, helping them to improve. He, in turn, is encouraged by the children’s eagerness to learn.
Dwight is not the only one who is encouraged. Brynn Kelly, a teacher at Whittier and a member of St. Andrew’s, said “Dwight’s consistency in volunteering in my classroom has helped support my commitment as a teacher of second language learners. I think of Dwight as a gift.” Brynn went on to share that one particularly difficult student had tears in his eyes when Dwight said goodbye at the end of the year. Over the months, Dwight had helped the boy to read and much more.