Tutor brings ‘heart of a servant’ to Partnership Village

Simone Boney wants to dedicate her life to helping disadvantaged populations. So far, she’s off to a great start.

Before she started applying to medical school, before she became a tutor at Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Partnership Village, before she even arrived in Greensboro, she knew she wanted to help others.

“I have always had a heart of a servant,” she said. “It took many years to figure out my purpose and in what ways I was created to help out others.”

Eventually, though, Simone says she “developed a better understanding that my purpose in life was to lift up others around me that need it.”

The Youngest Tutor at Partnership Village

Simone Boney started volunteering at Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Partnership Village in January 2016, as she completed medical school requirements at UNC-Greensboro. Now living in Greenville and applying to medical schools, Simone will not be able to volunteer this next year. Her impact on the young kids she tutored, though, will last for years to come.

Many of Simone’s fellow tutors at Partnership Village are retired, making her the youngest tutor by a number of years. Simone and her fellow volunteers are part of a tutoring program staffed by volunteers from the Servant Leadership School of Greensboro.

Simone knew she wanted to work with kids, so Partnership Village was a perfect fit – and she was impressed with the Greensboro Urban Ministry transitional housing program.

“I just loved that I was able to be in a community that provided [affordable] housing,” she said.

Before moving to Greensboro, the UNC-Chapel Hill graduate worked for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Chicago, helping struggling members of the community – many of whom dealt with mental health issues.

That experience underscored to her the importance of providing housing for those dealing with poverty.

A Community of Giving

Simone believes helping others is part of being a good citizen.

“We live in an individualistic society, I think,” she said. But at some point in our lives, Simone said, we’re all going to be the one who needs help.

Whether people are paying it forward or giving back, helping others, “that’s what community is,” she added.

Even when you’re giving, Simone said, you’re always getting something back.

“I remember there was one student that would come back [from school] – he was really sweet – but he would get 20 out of 100” on the behavior report in class.

The days when he would come back “saying, ‘I didn’t get kicked out today,’ or, ‘I got 80 percent’” on behavior made it all worth it.

“My favorite memory was my first year – very first year on the last day of school. The kids get a book bag [on that day] – and it was just amazing to see them light up.”

Saying Goodbye

The last day of school was always mixed with fun and a bit of nostalgia, though, Simone said – because that meant the end to their tutoring sessions for the year.

This year was especially bittersweet for Simone. With medical school around the corner, she will no longer be volunteering at Partnership Village.

“I felt really blessed to have been able to [have] had the opportunity to get to know each child and see them grow,” Simone said.  “I am going to miss working with each kid, but I knew [when I left that day] they were in great hands.”

She says she’s not sure exactly what part of medicine she wants to work in after graduation, but Simone knows one thing: She wants to keep helping those in need.