Dressed in yellow from head to toe (literally), Ian Chan, Program Administrator for local nonprofit School on Wheels, completed the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday to raise money for the homeless children that School on Wheels serves. Chan was one of thousands who made the 26.2-mile trek from Dodger Stadium. to the Santa Monica shoreline.
Ian is running 52 marathons in 2017 to raise awareness about homeless children in California. The LA marathon was his 12th this year and Ian ran his personal best with a time of 3 hours, 19 minutes and 58 seconds. He placed 404th out of 18,864 finishers.
This is what Ian had to say about his experience so far:
“It was an incredible feeling being out there with thousands of fellow Angelenos. The love, the camaraderie, the support…just unbelievable. This was the first time I wore the full-body School on Wheels outfit for a full 26.2 miles, and I’m glad I finished in one piece! Why am I running 52 marathons this year? Over 300,000 children experience homelessness in California each year; this campaign is about giving agency and hope to a population all too forgotten and neglected. My legs are tired, my feet sore but my heart is full. Onward to the next marathon!”
In an interview with KTLA, Ian showed off his amazing costume and talked about the 3,000+ homeless children School on Wheels serves each year and the thousands of volunteers that help them get back on track with school and learning.
Some of our students got to enjoy yoga at the USC Athletic Department with USC Football Community Service Award Winner, Zach Banner, and Uprising Yoga!
“The experience today was amazing, the kids had a great time doing yoga with Zach. It’s something that our kids don’t have an opportunity to do often, so it was a wonderful experience for them to just be able to kind of just center themselves and visit this beautiful campus and do some yoga.” – Charles Evans, Regional Director at School on Wheels
This workshop addresses the art of resume and cover letter writing and is geared toward students with little or no work experience. Help students get over the angst of resume writing with a few helpful tips. Unlock the secret to finding the “keywords” that employers are looking for in resumes and cover letters. This webinar covers several types of resumes recommended for high schoolers, whether they are seeking full or part-time employment.
About the Presenter: Irene Tirella initially began teaching basic business skills at an alternative high school for disadvantaged women in 1994. She also taught English as a second language in both the US and Asia and has tutored all grade levels from Kindergarten through college. Additionally, Irene worked as a job coach and mentor with the Department of Defense, where she helped service members transition from military to civilian life. More recently Irene worked at Brooks Institute as a career adviser helping students and alumni with their work search efforts. Currently she is an Educational Consultant specializing in classroom management strategies.
Question: I work in a group home. What right do I have to “put my foot down” and make them work? If they say they don’t want to work, what can I do?
Cathie Alter: Working in a group home is very challenging. I find I have to build a relationship and gain their trust before they will participate in the tutoring session. It took me four months to get the student I’m currently working with to fully engage in our math tutoring sessions. I started out by finding something she did like, which was reading and history. Initially, we spent the full hour discussing books and talking about Thomas Jefferson. I gradually started to increase the amount of time we spent on math. We now spend at least 75% of our time working on math and 25% visiting. It took awhile, but it was worth it. Her math skills have improved, and I can tell she is proud of herself. I hope this helps.
Amanda Carr: It can be challenging to work with older students, especially if they are unmotivated. As a tutor, your primary purpose feels like it should be helping with schoolwork, so it can be frustrating when those plans are thwarted. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to help motivate high school students. However, you must keep in mind that School on Wheels tutors are in shelters to tutor and serve as mentors–not to discipline. Remember that many students have had bad experiences with teachers and adults, and they may also be ashamed of what they don’t know. You cannot ‘make’ a student work, but you can use some tactics to persuade them.
Like Cathie said above, if a student doesn’t want to work on homework, don’t force it. Have a conversation about something else, and find out what they are interested in, whether it is books, music, sports, etc. You can then use this information in future sessions, perhaps bringing in an article in on the subject to discuss. Take time to build a relationship with them, and they will be much more likely to go along with tutoring.
Use our BUS Program, which is a mentoring program designed to get students to think about life after high school, as well as encourage them to graduate. There are several activities, like the Career Zone Make Money Choices exercise, which shows how education influences lifetime finances and goals.This might work to motivate them to complete their homework.
Let your student lead. Ask them to teach you something. They might be completely surprised about what they know–and surprise you with their enthusiasm, as well.
The most important thing to remember is that even if you can’t get your students to work on homework, you are modelling good behavior by being present with them every week. Be creative and be flexible, and don’t forget to have fun!
Cathie Alter has been a School on Wheels tutor for one year. She is a former law firm Administrator and CPA.
Amanda Carr joined School on Wheels in early 2015. As engagement specialist, she is dedicated to providing volunteers with resources to help them succeed.
Have a question for our Ask a Tutor feature? Email askatutor [at] schoolonwheels.org or use the #AskATutor hashtag on any of our social media sites.
Ashley (3rd Grade) In the beginning, Ashley was quiet and evasive. Over time, Ashley has become quite the young academic! When we get online, she greets us with a smile or a joke and is always ready to learn. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we look forward to hearing her stories about her school day. Ashley is one of the most determined, thoughtful and upbeat young women we have ever met. It is a pleasure to tutor and teach her every week. We know we’ll see her name in the record books one day, that’s for sure! Esther & Joshua – Online Tutors
M (10th Grade) is a very bright young lady that has aspiration of being the first in her family to attend college. She is always polite, highly motivated, and loves to read as well as laugh. She has also inspired myself when she received straight A’s at her first semester at a brand new high school despite not knowing anyone there and helping her mother take care for her younger siblings. Her strong work ethic and positive attitude will serve her well in the future, and I can only hope to foster her growth by sharing my knowledge and experiences with her. I couldn’t ask for a more rewarding experience than being a mentor and friend to me. Paul Godoy–Tutor Coordinator
Adan’s (7th Grade) favorite hobbies are video games and soccer. His favorite artist is Lil Uzi. He wants to become a game designer when he grows up. And his favorite subject is science. At School on Wheels, he has been a wonderful student, great kid with an awesome personality, and always has this positive aroma. Nargis Saidzadah –Tutor
Skid Row Learning Center:
Vyctoria (3rd Grade) is my go-to student for online tutoring! She’s polite, hard-working, intelligent and kind. She has made every online tutor she works with feel the same. It has been a delight to have Vyctoria as a student at the Learning Center!
Jason Wright – Skid Row Learning Center Specialist
Jesse When I first met Jesse, he struggled quite a bit in mathematics and was actually enrolled in a supplementary mathematics support class. Over the past year, we worked together to improve his approach and understanding of the problems. I have been stunned by his tenacity and eagerness to learn, and to see his perseverance and efforts pay off. I’ve seen his grades slowly inch their way up, to the point of discussion about taking him out of his math support class!
Elaine Nguyen – Tutor
Isla (2nd Grade) To my delight, I am paired with a wonderful 7-year-old girl named Isla. She is bright, inquisitive, and diligent in her homework, which we get done promptly so we can get on to “Playtime”. This consists of word games, puzzles, and storybooks on many subjects, which we then discuss. I feel like she is 7 going on 35. She makes my week, and no matter what, I always leave with a smile, looking forward to seeing her the following week.
Erna Taylor-Stark – Tutor
David (1st grade) At our site, the children move on quickly, so we don’t have as much continuity, but one young boy stands out in my mind. He is a very creative 1st grade boy who was curious about very large numbers, so we made up a game with place values and continued the place values up into the trillions. He was astonished that numbers could go that high! It was very fun, and I think he learned a lot as well.
Andrea Reinkensmeyer – Tutor
Nargis Saidzadah – I have been with School on Wheels for almost a year now, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made to join such a beautiful community. I chose this wonderful organization because my burning passion is to give back and help as many people as I possibly could, in humility & humbleness of course. As a psychology student, who studies brain & behavior almost every day, I can indubitably say that making someone feel good about themselves is one of the best ways to uplift both yourself and them.
Region 1 – East LA:
Paul Godoy – Having tutored Oakland elementary students while in college, I joined School on Wheels to continue to do my part in providing the best asset I believe a child can have: an education. School on Wheels has allowed me to work with many wonderful families and their children who despite their situation are always optimistic and eager to learn. During my sessions, I learn and growth as much from my students as they do from me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to empower the lives of these remarkable children.
Skid Row Learning Center
Helene Rioux – Every Tuesday, you will find Mrs. Helene sitting at Table 2 among 2nd and 3rd graders. She helps 4-5 kids at a time. They not only focus on academics but Helene likes to teach students French along the way. It’s wonderful to see the students so focused on her words and translations. In her own words: “It is a privilege for me to tutor the kids, they are so positive and ready to embrace life in spite of all difficulties; every Tuesday they enrich my life while I try to give them all the help I can, Thanks to School on Wheels and Ms. Allison.”
Deepti Sharma – School on Wheels opens its doors to a brightly painted oasis of learning and fun, away from the grim realities of daily shelter life. It also provides a safe haven for homeless youngsters to have fun, make friends and be physically active. This is the most positive and caring environment I have ever had the pleasure working in. As an online tutor, the best part is watching kids’ eyes light up when they learn something new or understand something they didn’t understand before, and seeing their excited little faces. It has been and continues to be a very exciting and rewarding experience for me. This is truly a great organization that I am proud to be a part of
Region 12 – North Orange County:
Elaine Nguyen – I initially began my experience with School on Wheels out of curiosity. Jesse was welcoming, eager, and incredibly hard-working. There were no barriers between us from day one, and we thrived off of each other. This past year, I have watched him grow immensely in character and intelligence. While I taught him mathematics and social sciences, he taught me patience and perseverance. I am so grateful to School on Wheels for providing me with this opportunity and life-long connection.
Region 10 – South Orange County:
Andrea Reinkensmeyer – I decided to get involved with School on Wheels because my teenage daughter is interested in becoming a school teacher and wanted to tutor children. It is a joy to help children grasp their academic material. I have had a fun time helping to coordinate tutors at one of the shelters and enjoy seeing the light bulbs go on in a child’s mind as they understand something. I especially enjoy helping them with math.
Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:
Joel Safranek – This month I’m happy to choose Joel as the tutor of the month! There are several examples of why he is a fantastic tutor. He has been with SOW for over 3 years and has gone above and beyond. He is definitely a great role model and mentor to the boys at Boys Republic. In addition, Joel is the wonderful tutor coordinator who always keeps me up-to-date of new students at the location. Besides consistently tutoring each week, Joel has donated funds to the boys for fun movie and pizza nights. Thank you for all you do, Joel! In his own words:
“Working as a School on Wheels tutor with the boys at Silver Lake’s Boys Republic has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. These young men come from very challenging environments, but without exception, they want to do better and make good lives for themselves and be a credit to their families. I’ve forged great friendships with staff and residents and look forward to continuing my work in the months ahead.”