Sep 27

September 2021 Volunteers of the Month

Adrianne Rippinger

Adrianne is an experienced educator and is tutoring three elementary school students! We are so lucky to have her.
-Alexander Toutant, Volunteer Support Coordinator

As a former educator, and especially after witnessing a year of online education, I knew the best way I could give back to my community was by tutoring students. I also know from experience that well-off parents will always find a way to give their children an edge in school. Sadly and perhaps irreversibly, it is those less fortunate who lost the most educational progress this past year, further widening the gap in educational advantage. So it was to those less fortunate whom I turned to offer my time and educational skill set.

Kelly Bauer

Kelly is incredibly dedicated; he and his student have been working so hard together. He really enjoys working with his student and they have a really special bond. Kelly has so much care and compassion and it’s clear that he only wants to see his student succeed and have all of the opportunities to do so. He has made such a big impact in the four months he has been tutoring!
-Kristina Rakosh, Regional Coordinator

Last year I worked with my own children as they worked from home due to COVID. I saw how hard they were working and knew that it must be so challenging for other kids. I looked for organizations that I could support using my background in education and found School on Wheels. I loved their mission so I signed up.

I think the most rewarding part has been seeing my student grow. He is up against so many challenges and still is able to show up each week and learn. I can already see him getting stronger in Math and Writing. This summer, we worked on a five-paragraph essay as part of a School on Wheels scholarship he’ll be applying for this fall. He learned the whole process, created an outline and drafts of his essay. He was motivated and persistent the whole way through.

No matter what challenges you may be up against in your life, being kind, positive, and responsible can take you a long way. Every bit of energy you put into tutoring you receive back in multitudes from the joy and satisfaction of working with students.

Mohammad Fidaali

Mohammad is an incredible role model, mentor, and tutor for his student, Benjamin. When Mohammad first joined us, he had a huge desire to help, but he was uncertain if he had what it took to be a tutor. From the moment Mohammad started tutoring, he was a natural! He not only possesses a natural ability to teach, but he does a great job of finding ways to connect with his student. When Mohammad joined SOW, he had just made an important transition in his life, leaving a corporate job behind and moving back in with his family to pursue medical school. He’s a great example of what you can do with a positive mindset and determination. Mohammad has always been more than qualified to work with our students and is making a wonderful difference in the life of his student. It’s been a pleasure to watch him grow as a tutor.
-Stephanie Swenseid, Volunteer Support Coordinator

I have always enjoyed working with kids but hadn’t done so in quite some time. I found myself with some extra time on my hands recently and decided I wanted to spend a portion of it tutoring. I started talking to people who also tutor and one of them mentioned School on Wheels specifically. The mission at School on Wheels is genuine, which is why I decided to reach out and see if I can volunteer.

Working with Benjamin has given me an immense perspective on how people develop. I think I was like him in a lot of ways when I was in third grade. Quick, wanting, not wishing to struggle through to potentially greater outcomes. So seeing that, and now working with him at this stage in my life, is humbling. He has taught me patience and the virtue of practicing what we preach. I was blown away at his ability to process the information, retain, recall, and give really sound, creative thoughts on abstract ideas like where he thinks the story will progress. These were things I wasn’t expecting. What I realized then is that he can actually read very well, it’s just sometimes he might get flustered or give an incorrect answer in the moment. In actuality, with time and strong effort put towards the question or problem, he can get an accurate answer. He does have the ability to excel!

Jessica Spake 

Jess is truly an amazing volunteer! The two students she tutors speak three languages, with English being their newest language. Jess has been able to tutor them in both English and in French. She brings excitement about space, animals, and academic achievements to the table.
-Jesse Pasquan, Volunteer Support Coordinator

I learned about School on Wheels from a friend. I believe that kids experiencing homelessness deserve the resources necessary to succeed in school. My student Amy has taught me that we all need big checkmarks for every achievement we make. I would tell anyone thinking about becoming a tutor, “do not hesitate. Getting to know my students, and seeing them bravely face up to academic challenges has been an utter privilege.”