By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Her dedication to improving the lives of schoolchildren has earned Prospect Park South resident Patricia Carbo-Leon recognition from Learning Leaders, a non-profit group whose mission is to foster close ties between schools and communities.
Learning Leaders named Carbo-Leon a Great School Volunteer for her 12 years of outstanding work with students and parents at PS 230, at 1 Albemarle Road in Kensington.
Carbo-Leon works with second grade students, translating in Spanish for those who arrive speaking little or no English. She also tutors students in English and Math. She has helped numerous families to navigate the complex school system by translating written material and conversations for teachers and parents.
What makes her story all the more remarkable is that she volunteers at least twice a week at the school despite the fact that she has limited mobility as a result of rheumatoid arthritis.
“From the very first day I became a Learning Leader volunteer all those years ago, after seeing an ad in my local library, I have looked forward to my sessions with the students and parents at PS 230,” Carbo-Leon said. “I enjoy being able to help the children and watch them progress and feel like a real part of the community,” she said.
“Patricia truly is a Great School Volunteer. Working tirelessly and loyally over the last 12 years to enrich the lives of all of her students, she is highly respected and appreciated by students, parents and staff alike,” said Jane Heaphy, executive director of Learning Leaders. “We are proud to be leading a team of such dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers, who are invaluable in our mission to increase student success,” she said.
Carbo-Leon, 54, isn’t the only one in her family who spends a lot of time at PS 230 helping kids. Her sister, Gina Rios, is also a volunteer the school. Between them, the sisters have put in almost 25 years of service, according to officials at Learning Leaders.
Rios volunteers at the school once a week on her day off from her job as a housekeeper. Originally from Ecuador, the sisters arrived in the US 34 years ago to join family members who had already moved here.
Learning Leaders selects one or more of its top volunteers each month for the honor of Great School Volunteer. As well as recruiting and training community and family volunteers to work with New York City public schools, the organization runs family engagement workshops to empower parents to foster their children’s educational development.
Learning Leaders was found in 1956. The organization works with 350 elementary and middle schools in the five boroughs and has nearly 7,000 volunteers.