Author: Victor Bornia

Oct 1

Volunteers of the Month – Oct. 2019

Rahul Kamalapurkar

Region 5

Rahul is constantly in good spirits at a fast-paced Digital Learning Center. He is invested in each of the students’ learning, and is always looking for ways to help out & make new tutors feel welcome. Rahul is very smart & happy to pass his math skills along to any student who wants to learn. He has been tutoring since January of 2019.

Jesse Pasquan, Coordinator

I was tutored growing up and had previously been a mentor for the foster care system. When I moved to LA I did a Google search for tutoring programs for underserved/underprivileged kids and found School On Wheels. A lucky find! I grew up with parents who had very high standards for me, but we were in a small town with a low-quality education system. I’ve seen how much of a difference educational support can make, and I wanted to be part of that effort.

The kids’ high energy is refreshing every week—so many of the students are really motivated and have a great sense of humor. In one of my first tutoring sessions, a Kindergarten student and I were reading together and making howling noises as the dog in the story howled at the moon. I still chuckle when I think about that day. I think my favorite moments are when a student is working on a tough problem (especially in math, my favorite) and sticks with it until he/she figures out the logic. I’ve truly felt like every session has been rewarding for me. So many of the kids want to be great students and just need someone to help them get over barriers; it’s amazing to be part of that journey.

Ann Buckley

Region 10

Ann has been tutoring James for over three years and has gone above and beyond to make sure he has consistency in his life. When I saw Ann with James it was clear how close they were and how much they trusted each other. Ann told me all about how wonderful James was and I could see how proud that made James feel. They have met anywhere that they are able to and Ann has really gone above and beyond to maintain that connection.

Katie Philipson, Coordinator

I found School on Wheels when I had just retired and was wanting to give back. It has been a very rewarding experience, and can also be great fun. I always encourage people to become a volunteer tutor. One hour of our time can be so precious for these children. The hour I spend with my student is definitely a highlight of my week. When my student James won the “Character Counts” award last school year, he was so proud. There are simply no words to describe how I feel… it’s so gratifying and fulfilling to know that I can have an impact on my student’s day, week, and even life.

Bernadette Baclig

Region 9

Bernadette has been such an amazing tutor at HIS House! She has been there since day one of group tutoring when we started in May of 2018 and has been a rock of support for the kids there. They love Ms. B!

Rachael Christenson, Coordinator

I first realized my love for working with students while volunteering at my kids’ elementary school. I love showing them that learning can be fun and providing them with useful skills to overcome any learning obstacles they might encounter.

I remember one student last year in our group session. Whenever he came in for tutoring, he looked like he didn’t want to be there and would always ask to play online games that were not educational. His family moved to another location, but within a month or so he was back… and very excited to be there! My Regional Coordinator informed me that he specifically asked to attend our group session, even though his family was now in another location. So even though at times it might feel like we are not getting through, something amazing is happening.

For anyone thinking of volunteering, I’d say don’t hesitate to do it. Think about all the students who are hungry for knowledge and just need someone to be there as their mentor, cheerleader, and teacher. School on Wheels makes it easy to volunteer, from their training to their support team.

Sep 30

Students of the Month – Oct. 2019

James

Age 9

James enjoys music, baseball, and computer games. Our focus is on improving reading scores and improving math, hopefully to win a math achievement award at the end of the school year. James says he believes we should keep trying to improve no matter what.

Ann Buckley, Tutor

Pierre

Age 8

Pierre enjoys football, math, and watching movies. He says he would like to be both an athlete and a paramedic. One of the things I’ve learned with Pierre is to try out different strategies, like clapping for each syllable, or building words with pieces of paper that have letters on them. There is no one way that works all the time, but I will say that drawing smiley faces goes a long way in improving motivation!

Laurie Kovalenko, Tutor
Sep 15

Robots!

Walnut Robotics visits Skid Row Learning Center

A huge thanks to Walnut Robotics FTC Team 6325, also known as The Aluminati, who stopped by our Learning Center on Skid Row to engage our students and teach them all about robotics!

And in other Robot News…

Robotics Program for Girls at Skid Row Learning Center

This summer 15-year-old volunteer Sydney Morrow launched and ran a Robotics Program for Girls at our Skid Row Learning Center. Her project was funded by a grant from the AspireIT program and the National Center for Women’s & Information Technology.  The participating students built robots in small groups and learned how to program them. Sydney plans to continue tutoring at SRLC and working with students on coding and robotics. Thank you, Sydney, for your commitment to our students!

Aug 29

Students of the Month – Sept. 2019

Collin

Age 9

Collin’s interests include science, acting, and furry animals. One of Collin’s big academic challenges was learning Common Core Math, but he never gave up and learned to use the method well. This was a big success for him! Collin wants to do well in school and be successful when he grows up, maybe even becoming a famous actor or comedian someday. I have learned from Collin that you need to be courageous and brave, and you need to forgive and accept.

Elaine Gonzales, Tutor

Troy

Age 14

Troy once told me that he received a student recognition award for math at school. He was so proud! Troy is very interested in production and says he intends to pursue a successful life.

Raquel Abreu, Tutor

Lionel

Age 13

Lionel loves playing sports, especially basketball. His dream is to play in the NBA when he grows up. When it comes to academics, he is interested in science, social studies/history, and likes reading. Lionel used to just try to memorize problems and answers, but I have been teaching him to understand the concepts. It’s great to see him working so hard and really learning.

Ganesh Koka, Tutor