When Terry Davis planned her retirement as an educator in Tennessee, she set her sights on Sarasota. And while she was successful in making the move in 2001, she soon found herself far from relaxing on a beach. “Retirement didn’t take,” she says. Now, between teaching learning theory at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and her own tutoring business, she finds time to be an educator with Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing.
Established in 2001, the nonprofit on Gillespie Avenue provides after-school and summer programs for hundreds of students in Newtown. Davis has been a tutor and board member for 18 years and has worked with more than a hundred students. Even when she isn’t tutoring students one-on-one, she’s taking phone calls to help students with math problems way after dinnertime.
Beyond the books, Brothers and Sisters mentors students. Being an adviser can mean helping a student achieve the benchmarks necessary to go to college or, as in a particular instance when a student had no transportation to get to work, buying him a bike.
“At the most basic level, we all want to feel good about ourselves,” Davis says. “It really means something for a child to be successful in the classroom because it builds their confidence.”
Finding the holes in a child’s education, or “Swiss cheese alerts,” as Davis calls them, never gets old. “There’s something about wanting to give that goes much deeper than anything else,” Davis says. “As long as I’m kicking, I’m going to be working with students.”