Helping Hero Spotlight - Bryon

  • Bryon Vogt (COM '15)

    About the organization:
    Riverview Tutoring Program provides tutoring and mentoring services to the children at Riverview Gardens. The outreach program, founded by KCUMB students in 2011, has grown to include a summer curriculum, creative playtime activities and a focus on healthy lifestyles. Learn more.

    Helping Heroes - Vogt(Bryon Vogt, pictured left, serves at the annual RiverviewThanksgiving dinner. Bryon also prepared the turkey.)

    How did you first get started volunteering for this cause?
    I really enjoy working with kids and I've always had a knack for teaching, so when I heard about Riverview tutoring I knew that it would be a great fit for me. I sought out the KCUMB students that were running the program at the time and asked if they would have any need for another volunteer. Needless to say, they were happy to have another helping hand.

    What is it that you enjoy most about this community outreach?
    I love Riverview because of the very visible impact that you can make on the kids. Our kids look forward to tutoring all week long, and they are so thankful for all of the volunteers.

    Why is it important for people to get involved and give something back to the community?
    KCUMB is part of a very diverse community, and like any community we have our strengths and weaknesses. What makes a community a successful one is whether or not people are willing to work together for everyone's benefit and use our strengths to improve our weaknesses. I am a very blessed person, and I am a firm believer that it is everybody's duty to give back when they can. Unfortunately, the education of the children in our community has some issues, but KCUMB has been very active to do what we can to help whenever possible.

    How does it make you feel to be able to help out?
    I can't lie and say that my volunteer efforts are completely selfless. It is very rewarding to know that you are helping a kid and quite possibly brightening their future. It makes you feel very good when you see how big the smile can get on a kid's face when they know you care about them.

    How do you know you have truly made a difference?
    You never want to see a child upset, but you know that you are making a difference when the kids get upset if you tell them that you have to take a week off of tutoring. Just missing a week of tutoring, and especially when summer break comes, the kids get sad and want to give all of the volunteers big hugs before they go home. It makes it pretty obvious that what you are doing means a great deal to them.

    Can you share one of your favorite volunteering experiences? What makes that situation stand out as memorable?
    During my first year in medical school, our group of volunteers brought all of the kids of Riverview to campus and performed our version of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" The kids who came and participated were practically glowing when they were sitting up on stage answering questions that our instructors couldn't even answer. The event alone was a memorable experience, but I really was touched when the kids were asked what they wanted to be when they grow up. Nearly all of them said that they wanted to be doctors. This was the first time that I realized how much our kids looked up to us as future doctors and aspired to someday be like us. That’s a pretty good feeling.

    What has volunteering taught you? What have you learned about yourself and/or others?
    Working at Riverview has been a bit of an eye-opening experience for me. Seeing how difficult life can be for people at times can give you a lot of perspective on your own circumstances. I have definitely learned to be more grateful for the blessings that I have in my life, and the importance of sharing those blessings with those who are less fortunate whenever possible.

    How can others get involved?
    Riverview tutoring meets every Thursday evening, and everyone is welcome to join. You don't have to be an expert with kids or an experienced tutor to help. Just spending time with them will mean more than you might know. It’s a rewarding experience and a good break from studying. To get involved, contact any of the members of the Advocates for Diversity in Medicine (ADM) club or the Student Affairs office to learn more about our program.