Month: February 2016

Feb 1

Students of the Month – February 2016

A drawing from one of our Students of the Month.

Skid Row Learning Center

Shakiya, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Shakiya, 8th Grade. It is with great pride and admiration that I select Shakiya as the Student of Month, because she gave me three exemplary reasons to do so. The first of these is her work ethic. Once becoming familiar with the rules and structure of School On Wheels, Shakiya begins her homework as soon as she arrives without any procrastination or complaints. The second reason for her selection is her initiative. While other good students comply with rules and instructions, Shakiya goes beyond the norm and seeks challenge and growth. For instance, once her homework is done, Shakiya is known to seek the toughest learning center assignments and knowledgeable tutors, so that she can learn and grow as a student and be prepared for the challenges at school. Her preparation paid off in strides because the third and most salient reason for her selection is delineated by her most recent report card — one chock-full of A’s!

Brian Lopez, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 1 – East LA to Pasadena

Gilbert, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Gilbert, 5th Grade. When Gilbert and I met, he needed extra attention in math but now his report cards show improvement every semester! With support and encouragement from his mother, Gilbert has made great progress.

I am very proud of his creativity; Gilbert designed a board game. At our first meeting when asked what he would like to accomplish in our tutoring sessions, he said, “Art and Science projects!!” So for some well-earned fun after math study, we have done several art and science experiments. He painted a beautiful picture as a gift for his mom, and we have made green slime in the name of science! Gilbert is bright and ambitious; I know he can become anything he wants to be. I will never forget the fun we’ve had this year in our tutoring sessions!

Sasana Kachirsky, Tutor

Region 3 – Westside

Alanna, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Alanna, 2nd Grade. Alanna has been coming to one of our group tutoring sites that benefits from the help of our OMDE volunteers for the past four months. We couldn’t be happier with her improvement. I remember on her first day she would not speak to anyone, not even to read words out loud on the page. It has really been a pleasure to see her feel more and more comfortable as time has gone on. I am happy to see she now talks openly with all the tutors she works with, which has been a really big step. From the start of the school year she has really improved academically. At our last meeting her mom came up to us to say how her teachers have really seen a difference in her schoolwork and thanked us for our help. An hour a week doesn’t seem like a lot, but I know it has made a big difference to Alanna and her tutors; we are very proud of her progress each week!

Kyle McDonough, Regional Coordinator

Region 4 – South Bay, Long Beach

Alyssa, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Alyssa, 2nd Grade. Alyssa is in 2nd grade. We usually work on math. I try to give her some tips and strategies to help and I notice that she likes to fix her own mistakes. She’s definitely getting better in
subtraction. She also likes to read to me. It’s good because she recognizes her mistakes and fixes them. She would rather play. So I’m learning how to keep her focused and leave some time at the end for us to goof off and do what she wants. She smiles and laughs a lot.

Nicholas DeLucca, Tutor

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Oscar, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Oscar, 10th Grade. Chris and his student primarily work on two subjects: math and the drama that comes with being in high school. If there’s something Chris doesn’t know, they figure it out together. The best moment with his student wasn’t when he mastered the art of functions, but when he felt comfortable enough to talk to Chris about his crush, friends, and family. He believes that it’s one thing to be able to teach a student, but it’s more rewarding to be able to relate. “I’ve still got it!” he joked.

Christopher Van Nest, Tutor

Region 8 – Ventura, Santa Barbara

Krystal, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Krystal, 6th Grade. Krystal never ceases to amaze me. Whether it is her consistent, positive attitude or her drive to overcome a subject that she tends to struggle with, you would never know that she is only twelve years old. Krystal is a fun-loving girl who is a joy to be around. Not many kids Krystal’s age are eager to learn or will ask you to teach them a little more than what the teacher has taught so far in class. Krystal has already improved so much since her first tutoring session; her potential is obvious. I can’t wait to see what Krystal’s future has in store for her because I know it will be as bright as her personality.

Kaycee Holcomb, Tutor

Region 10 – South Orange County

Noah, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Noah, 1st Grade. It is a pleasure working with my student Noah. He is so full of energy. He likes doing his math homework more than reading or writing, so I bring books to share with him each time I tutor. This encourages him to read by himself or to listen while I read. Since I have discovered some of his favorite subjects, it is fun to find books with topics he will enjoy such as karate, dinosaurs and fossils. I think he is concentrating a little better on his homework than when I first met him. I also bring him a little surprise that he can pick out of my bag as a reward for concentrating on his homework. One activity he loves is playing card games with me. He is great at “Go Fish” and “Uno”. He has taught me how to play Uno once again, since it has been about 40 years since I last played it.

Nancy Okamoto, Tutor

Online Tutoring

Nurfarrah, School on Wheels Student of the Month

– Nurfarrah, 7th Grade. It’s been a joy to get to know Nurfarrah and to see her grow academically in math and in writing. Nurfarrah has grown to seek better understanding of the material she’s learning. In math and over time, she’s proven herself to be a quick learner and she has discovered writing as her medium to demonstrate her creativity, sense of humor, and fun-loving personality. In each of our tutoring sessions, I can see Nurfarrah’s drive to do well in school. I’ve also gotten the chance to connect with Nurfarrah over our shared love for art; it’s been so much fun sharing my art with her and getting a chance to see her amazing artwork too. Nurfarrah is a talented and curious learner and it’s been the most rewarding experience to have her as a student over the past year.

Catherine Luo, Online Tutor

Feb 1

Tutors of the Month – February 2016

Kylie, one of our Tutors of the Month

Skid Row Learning Center

Kylie Banks, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Kylie Banks. Since July 26th, 2014, Saturday mornings at the Skid Row Learning Center are full of laughs and giggles thanks to the amazing energy brought by Ms. Kylie Banks! Students do not always get a full night’s sleep at the shelter which can lead to morning grumpiness. Once the kids see Ms. Kylie, they immediately cheer up. Kylie greets each student and her fellow volunteers with a wide smile and friendly handshake. She makes everyone feel welcome and inspired. After three months of tutoring, Kylie was asked to take on a bigger role as a Tutor Coordinator. She began by helping with phone calls and clerical work. Now she is the Tutor Coordinator for group tutoring at the union Rescue Mission where she ensures that the students who are unable to attend the after school program are still able to receive tutoring and support. Kylie says, “I love School on Wheels because there’s nothing better than working with wonderful students and watching them succeed. Everyone who works and volunteers with School on Wheels truly cares about the organization’s mission and I really feel that I’m making a difference each time I tutor.”

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 1 – East LA to Pasadena

Sasana Kachirsky, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Sasana Kachirsky. Sasana has been an extraordinary School on Wheels tutor since 2014! Her creativity and passion for teaching have made a tremendous impact on her student Gilbert’s life. Each week Sasana provides consistency and uses creative techniques to engage her student in learning. Sasana portrays outstanding qualities as a volunteer by logging her hours weekly, adding comments to her logs, preparing for her sessions and going the extra mile to make her sessions engaging and fun for her student. Here is what Sasana had to say about her experience as a tutor:

I’m very glad to have learned about School on Wheels from my friend Evan Panas. Sharing my enthusiasm about learning new things with students who need some extra support has become a highlight of my week! Remembering the struggles in my own school years and the encouragement of my teachers and my parents is a feeling that I will never forget. It pushed me further than I thought I could go. I hope that the students I work with will also feel that encouragement, that their education is important and that there is someone that cares about their progress and their future.

Sasana, thank you for your dedication and support!

Marisol Farfan, Regional Coordinator

Region 3 – Westside

OMD Entertainment Tutors, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– OMD Entertainment Tutors. This month I would really like to recognize a great group of volunteers from OMD Entertainment that have been wonderful tutors in my region. They have been coming to one of my group tutoring sites every Monday for almost a year now, and the students there are always excited to see them each and every week. What has really been great is that with their support, we have expanded tutoring at this location; now we are able to help a lot more kids because of their consistency and commitment to the program. We have students there with grades ranging from Kindergarten to 6th grade. It can definitely be challenging, but the tutors are always patient and will often stay late to help finish homework or work on a supplementary activity. The tutors come from quite a distance and battle traffic for 45 minutes to an hour directly from work, but they always show up with smiles on their faces ready to jump in with a student, or multiple students, that need their help. I want to thank all of them for their hard work and dedication.

Kyle McDonough, Regional Coordinator

Region 4 – South Bay, Long Beach

Nicholas DeLucca, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Nicholas DeLucca. My name is Nick and I’ve been a School On Wheels tutor since October 2015. Becoming a tutor was my mom’s idea. She’s a teacher and knows there are many kids out there who could use a little extra help. So she looked for a volunteer opportunity that we could both do. I really enjoy working with younger kids and like going to visit Alyssa every week. She seems really excited to see me which makes me feel like I’m making a difference. I often do my own homework in the car on the way to tutor, but it’s worth it. The feeling of helping someone else is motivating.

Louis Mena, Regional Coordinator

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Christopher Van Nest, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Christopher Van Nest. This month we are proud to highlight Chris as Region 5’s Tutor of the Month. Chris has such a positive and friendly energy which he uses to connect with each of his students at the group home where he tutors! He has been with us for about a year and we are so grateful to have him on our team. He is such a wonderful role model to his students and an awesome mentor. In his own words:

Chris got involved with School On Wheels for three reasons; he was broke, unemployed, and wanted to give back to the community. He joined the organization in February, 2015 after just moving to the city. He knew that making a difference in a child’s life was more fulfilling than what Maury was talking about on tv that day, and it is! He has made personal connections with each of his high school students, and enjoys the fact that they feel comfortable enough with him to discuss topics outside of school.

Lancella Hunter, Regional Coordinator

Region 8 – Ventura, Santa Barbara

Kaycee Holcomb, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Kaycee Holcomb. Although Kaycee has only been working with Krystal for a month, I can already tell Kaycee is making an impact in Krystal’s life. Right after the first week, Kaycee contacted me with specific supplies Krystal needed and said she would also be helping Krystal apply for the School On Wheels scholarship to participate in a dance class. When asked, Kaycee says she became a volunteer tutor because she grew up with a support system of family and mentors that helped her along the way; she wants to be able to give back in that way to a student. It is clear that Kaycee has a genuine interest in Krystal’s well-being, building a mentorship relationship with Krystal aside from working on multiplication tables. You have been a pleasure to work with and I look forward to seeing all the progress you and Krystal make together. Thank you, Kaycee, for being a positive role model and support person to Krystal!

Terrie Soto, Regional Coordinator

Region 10 – South Orange County

Nancy Okamoto, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Nancy Okamoto. Nancy joined our School on Wheels team in November and about her volunteer experience says:

I have been involved in one type of volunteer activity or another since high school. My cultural background of Judaism has taught me to think of oneself as a citizen of the world, that we are responsible for others around us. I especially enjoy working with children since they can be so open and spontaneous. It is such a joy to work with a child and to think that you may help them understand something better – to make sense of their world. This gives them confidence to tackle challenges they may face and to empathize with people around them. School on Wheels gives me the opportunity to be a bigger part of my community.

Lilian Pahn, Regional Coordinator

Online Tutoring

Kojo Quaye, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Kojo Quaye. Kojo joined School on Wheels as an online tutor in June, 2015. Since then, he has tutored students of all grade levels, ranging from 2nd to 12th grade. Kojo’s commitment to his students is inspiring; his patience, flexibility, and understanding help him attend to the ever-changing needs of each of his students with ease. It is a pleasure to name Kojo our online tutor of the month! In his own words:

At my very first tutoring session, my student needed help with chemistry as they had an exam the next day. I did my best to explain the concepts in a clear and relatable way. Towards the end of the session we did a quick review of what we had gone over; and I asked the student if it made sense. He responded “Yeah, I’m not so intimidated anymore”. For me that was the best thing I could have heard. Online tutoring has made me think about my early education and made me realize how fortunate I was to have the resources that I did, to enable me to succeed at school. Thanks to the advancement of technology, it’s great to know that others can now have access to those resources remotely so they too can do well in school. It’s great to see how happy and confident students get when they answer a question correctly and work hard to get there. I’ve had a great time doing online tutoring with School on Wheels and hope to continue.

Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator