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A nurturing touch

Heather Struck

Providing support and lending knowledge to children who will

certainly appreciate the results later in their lives, Burnie

Robinson, calls herself fortunate to be able to and make a real

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impact in people’s lives.

Robinson is a volunteer mentor for the Bridge Learning Center, a

program centered in Laguna Beach that provides support to children

throughout Orange County who are living in single-parent and

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low-income homes.

She offers her current protege, a 12-year old girl living in a

single-mother home, more than help with her homework. The most

valuable help she provides is someone a child can talk to.

“As a mentor I can lend an unconditional ear for her to talk to

someone who’s not a family member,” said Robinson.

Having worked with children and the needy before she moved to

California from Baltimore, Robinson eased into a mentor position and

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committed to it once she realized its importance.

“I read an editorial in the newspaper shortly after the events of

Sept. 11 about the importance of the attention and care that children

are given,” said Robinson. “Working with my protege has been a

rewarding experience for the both of us. I can see that she has been

making positive developments in her reading and comprehension skills,

as well as in her understanding of what is right and safe in life.”

The Mexican background of the child’s family has helped open

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Robinson’s eyes to the freedoms that American-born citizens, like

herself,take for granted.

“You never know, unless you face these challenges, what a burden

they can be.”

Volunteering to provide a role model to a growing girl has become

a part of Robinson’s life. She said she is rewarded both in the hours

she dedicates to give back to her community, as well as by watching

the young girl grow and make decisions that she influenced.

“You have to make a commitment to volunteering when you work with

children,” Robinson said. “One of the worst things you can do is let

a kid down.”

* HEATHER STRUCK is an intern for the Coastline Pilot. She write

features and gathers news information.


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