Tag: tutors

Oct 2

Tutors of the Month – October 2017

Region 2 – South LA:

David Salazar – My first experience in tutoring for School On Wheels was when I met Issa who taught me how important it is to help kids during difficult times in their lives and how we can help so much by just being there. I learned as much from my experience tutoring as Issa learned in being confident in his math and himself.

 

 

Region 2 – South LA:

Pamela WronaI wholeheartedly believe that fostering a love for learning and an appreciation for the power of education early in life is so important for a student’s future success. I became a volunteer because I wanted to help children who didn’t necessarily have that support in their lives. It’s been such a joy to help my student Marie feel more confident in her studies and to see her eyes light up when she “gets” a concept. After one session, she told me “I wish we could do tutoring EVERY day!” Of course, that little comment made my day!


Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Marissa High – I started working as a volunteer because I was feeling like I wasn’t making enough of an impact. I wanted to get involved and see direct results, which is why this is such an amazing program. It does not take up tons of my time, but it is an impactful amount of time for my student. I would say my favorite tutoring moments with him have been when he finishes something he’s been struggling with, and he’s excited that he was able to accomplish it. When I see that excitement, it’s an amazing feeling.

Region 10 – South Orange County:

Chris Ruoff – About a year ago I received an email from LinkedIn with volunteer opportunities that matched my profile – and this was one of them. I was first assigned to a winter shelter and spent 6 months there until it closed in April. In May I helped open a Digital Learning Center at a school site, and just last month we started tutoring at a new shelter in Orange. This has been such an incredible journey. I feel such a great sense of purpose in providing support and consistency for our kids.

 

Online:

Jishnu Basu – I am thankful for the opportunity to use my passion for math to help students who need it the most. I’ve tutored multiple students and each one had different strengths and weaknesses, and each one required a change in my teaching style. This is crucial because in one-on-one tutoring, tutors have the advantage of being able to focus and mold their teaching to a specific student, which cannot be done in the classroom. One of the most interesting aspects of being an online tutor is that I learn something new each week, from new techniques to solve a problem to how to work with different personalities.

Aug 7

From a Tutor to a Mentor

Sunny and Katy at her high school graduation, and Katy with her Presidential Service Award

Katy Michaelis met Sunny in 2012 when she was in 8th grade. In December 2015, Sunny moved into the foster care system and was placed with a foster family. It took a little bit of time, but with School on Wheels’ help, Katy got back in touch with Sunny and they started meeting weekly at a coffee shop.
“Over the years our relationship changed from tutoring to mentoring. We mostly focused on math, but when Sunny got to AP Chemistry in her junior year, I was just there to encourage and cheerlead! It felt like she didn’t like me at first, but after meeting for so many years we developed a relationship, and sometimes there were days when we just talked rather than tutored.”

Sunny graduated in June from high school and has a full ride to Cal State Fullerton through Guardian Scholars – a program that is committed to supporting ambitious, college-bound students exiting the foster care system. Both School on Wheels and her tutor Katy are very proud of her achievements and Katy said she is inspired by Sunny’s determination to succeed.

Katy and Sunny talked about college for a long time, and it was always in Sunny’s mindset that she was going, but she never knew for sure. When we asked Katy what she thought her contribution had been to Sunny’s success, she said that she likes to think at a minimum that she kept Sunny focused on college. They talked a lot about what college was going to be like, and Katy wrote a letter of recommendation for Sunny’s scholarship request. She also turned up week after week, and the stability and consistency of their tutoring time was a contributing factor. Sunny received help from a lot of different organizations, including School on Wheels, which provided her with backpacks and school supplies from 8th grade onwards, as well as a scholarship for books for high school.

“Tutoring was something that my mom signed me up for,” Sunny said. “I didn’t want to do it at first. It was kinda scary to be doing homework with a stranger. But after my initial hesitation, it soon became part of my routine, and meeting Katy every week was something stable in my life. Sometimes I became so overwhelmed with tests and homework, but she was there to ground me. I had a vague idea who School on Wheels was – support for kids whose demographic was homelessness. But Katy really helped me when I transitioned into the foster care system because I felt like she was a neutral person. The second I saw her, I could tell her everything: about my anxiety, about my new foster family, my mom, about anything. She always stayed neutral and positive. She helped to guide me on what to say and how to say it. It felt good that she was invested in me and helped to rationalize my thoughts.

Tutor Katy is having a baby and is due in a few weeks. Sunny is so excited and has watched Katy’s bump grow with delight and is counting down the days to meeting her new friend. She is also anxious about starting college in August. “I am still trying to get my head around the fact that I am actually going to college and gauge how I feel about it!

We asked Sunny what she would say to other kids in a similar situation, and she said this:

“Kids that live in shelters, motels, and group foster homes need to take advantage of all the programs out there to help them, especially with school, like School on Wheels. Ok, so it’s just tutoring, but it becomes so much more that that. I have met a friend for life, and she has become the most positive influence in my life.”

Feb 7

Tutors of the Month – February 2017

Region 1 – East LA:

Diane Lopez – Wanting to do something in the field of education, I would have never thought about tutoring homeless children. Sometimes people forget that homelessness is something that affects everyone, and children are not immune to it. I am so glad that I found School on Wheels because it fills me with such warmth that I cannot explain in words. Seeing my student smiling and growing in her studies keeps me wanting to make sure she gets the best tutoring I can give her. 

 

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Erna Taylor – I had just come out of an 8 1/2 year retail job at a scrapbooking store, and I was looking for something to do. School on Wheels caught my eye as an opportunity to work with children again. I had been a storyteller for many years, so this seemed perfect. I love words and books, and learning is very important to me. I also come from a big family, so working one-on-one with a child has been a great experience for both me and my student.

 

Region 6 – Inland Empire:

Deborah Myers – Education has always been important to me. Someone once told me, “Never stop learning,” and I took that message to heart. When I came across a notice for School on Wheels, it seemed like a perfect fit for my interests. I chose to work with high school boys in a group foster home. Even though their circumstances present a unique challenge, it’s especially thrilling when I can connect with a student to help expand his knowledge, and through education, help him to build dreams for a future.

 

Skid Row Learning Center:

Jesse Polen – Every Thursday, you will find Mr. Jesse sitting at Table 1 (a.k.a. Mr. Jesse’s Table). He takes on the tough but fun task of working with three or four 1st and 2nd graders at one time. Throughout this time, he not only helps the students complete homework but assists them in raising their scores. Mr. Jesse makes sure the sessions are fun, yet efficient, and is making a lasting impact on these children!

 

Online Tutoring:

Justin Helps – Tutoring with School On Wheels is a welcome change of pace after spending the work day in the world of adults. It is the highlight of my week. It is also very rewarding to see the understanding “click” for a student, and this has proven helpful to my work at Khan Academy. I’m honored to be involved with an organization like School On Wheels, which enables me to have this experience and know that the student benefits as well.

Nov 2

November 2015 Newsletter

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
Albert Schweitzer

I have always loved the Thanksgiving holiday, but never truly appreciated it until I became a volunteer for School on Wheels. Like most people, I thought of Thanksgiving as filled with food, family, and friends. Now when I think of Thanksgiving, I reflect on the words…thanks and giving. I never felt the true power of gratitude and giving until I saw what your support, encouragement and generosity have done for thousands of homeless children in our communities. Because of you, a kindergartner can learn to read; because of you, a fifth grader will be able to go to school because she has a uniform and a brand new backpack; because of you, a high school student can solve a complex problem with his very own tutor.

We celebrate this time of giving thanks and are grateful that we have friends like you whose compassion and generosity allow us to reach out to the ever-increasing number of homeless students in our communities.  Please know how much we value your continued support. Thank you most of all for the hope you have given to our homeless students so that they too can have a chance for success through education.

With gratitude and admiration,

Catherine signature
Catherine Meek
Executive Director

Click here to see more from our November Newsletter

Sep 8

September 2015 Newsletter

Sometimes I get very angry, sometimes sad, sometimes despairing as I think of all the homeless children we see every day. One in every 30 children in the U.S. experiences homelessness every year – that’s one student in every classroom in America. Why is this not a national crisis discussed by every political, religious, education and community leader in this country? Why does the media not talk about 2.5 million homeless kids? Is it too overwhelming to consider? Too hard to talk about? Too shameful to acknowledge?

I don’t have to tell any of you, our loyal and generous volunteers, donors and supporters, about the heart-breaking issue of homeless children. You are there for them every day, giving them the tools they need to succeed in school, the consistency of a mentor and positive role model, the hope we all need to survive. That’s a lot. Now I am asking you to take one more step: shout out loud for homeless kids. Make your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, political representatives, baristas, Uber drivers, understand the magnitude of this problem. Talk about how education is a critical link in breaking this terrible cycle of homelessness. Tell them about our students and how challenging their lives are. They have no power and no voice, but you do.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do for our students. You are making an enormous difference in their lives.

With deep appreciation,

Catherine signature
Catherine Meek
Executive Director

Click here to see more from our September Newsletter

Jun 12

Tutoring Solutions: Advice and Tips to Suit your Student’s Needs #2

This workshop served as a question and answer session for tutors seeking assistance in helping their student. We shared ideas, strategies, methods and accommodations for students in varying grades and with a variety of needs – academic or behavioral.

About the Host:

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor, began her teaching career as a community college mentor for non-traditional students such as single mothers, first-generation college students and disabled persons. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in English Literature and Composition, Allison worked as a Special Education teacher for five years. As a teacher, Allison worked with students living with Autism, emotional disturbance, learning disabilities, speech and language impairment and various other disabilities.