Star of Queens: Paula Snider
Tutor with Sunnyside Community Services After School Program
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Whether it’s math, writing or reading, Paula Snider helps elementary school students with their homework after school. She says she usually ends each session by reading the kids a story.
PERSONAL: Born and raised in the Bronx, Snider attended college in Tennessee where she met her husband, who became a minister. As a part of her husband’s religious duties, the couple lived all over the country while Paula taught elementary school. They have two daughters.
FAVORITE MEMORY: “It’s hard to pick just one!” she said.
Last year during a tutoring session, Snider recalled a young boy touching her arm and saying, “Ms. Paula, your skin is so old!”
The two took a break from their normal studies and talked about age for a while. Snider told the boy she was 70, a number he reacted to with great surprise.
“It was really cute,” she said. “Kids are so honest, it’s something I really enjoy.”
INSPIRATION: Snider said one of her strongest influences is her mother, who worked, volunteered and remained active in the community all throughout her childhood in the Bronx’s Parkchester housing projects. She prides her mother on doing things like advocating to integrate the neighborhood, ensuring streets were properly lit and being a member of the community’s tenant’s association.
She said her husband inspires her as well, having remained active through volunteer efforts in every community they’ve lived in.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: While volunteering often has the ability to inspire unity, Snider feels great strides can still be made.
“I love Sunnyside because all of the people from different places,” she said. “Different, but all alike.”
Snider went on to say that she wished this sense of collectiveness achieved through volunteering could transcend on a universal level.
“I wished there was more of a sense of community,” she said. “We’ll all be benefitted. I wish we’d all try to see we’re all the same people and what benefits one, also benefits others.”