This is to introduce Clifton Izui, who volunteers on Tuesday afternoon.Here is an introduction he wrote for himself.
I believe that learning to understand ourselves and others is a life-long journey that is best begun as early as possible. The development of good communication skills, critical thinking, and self-awareness are tasks that fall upon every human being, no matter our age, profession, or level of education. Curiosity and problem solving are innate drives, but empathy and understanding are far more difficult abilities to acquire, and we need help to cultivate and exercise them. Having unusual mental attributes, useful or otherwise, makes understanding other minds even more complex and strenuous. It’s been a constant struggle for me, and I hope to be a sympathetic ally to help others navigate the challenges and pitfalls I’ve had to face largely on my own.
As I believe teaching and learning go inseparably hand-in-hand, I hope to better my own understanding, and in the process help others to better theirs. Each of us has a unique point of view and set of experiences, and I believe it's possible to learn something from everyone we meet. I think this—the sharing of knowledge and understanding—is the project that defines us as a species, allowing us to achieve the great heights in problem solving we've accomplished and to face the tremendous challenges we will meet in the future. I hope that, if nothing else, I can instill this general philosophy in others by example as I explore and refine it myself.