Tutors of the Month – August 2016
Region 2 – South LA
– Jaston. Jaston made a video describing his tutoring experience with School on Wheels. In the video, Jaston talks about helping Nicholas work on his resume and interviewing skills.
Skid Row Learning Center
– Jiayi “Grace” Qin. During the school year, USC sends us students through their Joint Educational Program to serve as tutors. This year, we were lucky that Ms. Grace was assigned to our group! After months of tutoring kindergarten students, Grace extended her role and became a summer intern. She comes in every day to help prep the room and snacks; then she spends the afternoon working with the kindergarten kids. Grace joins us all the way from China and we are honored that she joined our little corner of the world. When asked about her stay, Grace said, “Being a tutor here at School on Wheels helps me to get practice, self-cultivation, and actual experience. I am so glad that I can help children with their education.” We are glad too, Grace!
Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor
Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena
– Diana Lee, Cameron Riefe, Alex Riefe. This month we highlight 3 tutors. Diana and her twin boys Cameron and Alex. They have provided so much support to the boys at the Aguila house. They are definitely supportive tutors, who not only help the boys academically but connect with the students at the group home but finding different ways to engage, teach, and mentor the students.
Tutoring teenage boys who are overcoming addiction at Aguila House is a rewarding experience. My sons Cameron and Alex and I visit weekly to help the boys with reading, writing, and math. If they don’t have homework, we help them write journals or cover letters for dream jobs. When they have specific requests, such as preparing for the standardized test to enter the military, we show them strategies to improve their knowledge and skills. One of the boys was interested in philosophy; so we read library books about philosophy and engaged in lively discussions.
As tutors, we also learn from our students; their life experiences and perspectives are sometimes vastly different from our own. Nino, for example, is extremely frustrated with the gentrification that is making his neighborhood too expensive to live in.
Lancella Hunter, Regional Coordinator
Region 6 – Inland Empire
– Angela Zhang. Angela has been a wonderful and dedicated volunteer since February 2015. Even though she is a high school student, she demonstrates outstanding qualities that not only make her a great role model but a magnificent tutor. Angela is responsible, consistent with her session, committed to School on Wheels and always logs her hours. She is currently tutoring two students at two different locations. Angela, thank you for all your hard work and dedication!
This is what Angela had to say about her experience as a School on Wheels volunteer:
When I first joined School on Wheels, I was exploring a future career path in education. I was a teen with no car, busy parents and surrounded by a wealthy suburban community. However, within weeks of having my first session with Cameron, my love of teaching was affirmed. Volunteering offers so much invaluable insight into the human condition that only occurs when you join two people from vastly different backgrounds and experiences. Because of School on Wheels and the students I tutor, I am a stronger, more open minded person.
Marisol Farfan, Regional Coordinator
Region 8 – Ventura County
– Eileen Speer. Eileen has dedicated her time to School on Wheels since early in 2016 and has worked with her student continuously since then. In her own words:
While searching for an opportunity to give back, I came across School on Wheels’ effort in Ventura County. I was looking for volunteer programs that would possibly benefit from my career experience. Last year having done homework with my two grandchildren, I came to enjoy creating opportunities for learning new things and especially new words. After looking into several volunteer opportunities I discovered that School on Wheels was by far the most organized and professional organization I had encountered.
Teresa Vazquez, Regional Coordinator
Region 10 – South Orange County
– Brandon and Bruce Mann. Bruce and Brandon are a father-son dynamic duo. They have been tutoring together since January of this year. They have shown extreme dedication to their students over the past 6 months and have really gone above and beyond to meet their students’ unique needs. Brandon prepares diligently for each and every session, and they are both kind, compassionate and patient with each student. Their commitment to their students and to School on Wheels is extra-ordinary. We are so lucky to have them on our team!
I was an active volunteer in the community before School on Wheels, but felt that my actions were not going to have a strong impact on anyone’s life. When I found out about School on Wheels online program, I knew this was the program I was looking for. The students I have worked with, have taught me the struggles that innocent kids go through every day and that each student has unique strengths. Each requires a different approach, and they challenge me to find that specific way to connect with them. I love the excitement they have to strengthen their knowledge of a subject and their reactions to accomplishing something they previously believed impossible to do. It brings a smile to my face to see their boost in self confidence because they know they faced an obstacle and overcame it.
Lilian Pahn, Regional Coordinator
Region 12 – North Orange County
– Chris Cole. Chris is an amazing tutor. Since the first time I met him, he has been extremely engaged, dedicated and willing to do more. His passion for helping and reaching children is incredible.
In his own words:
After just a few sessions with my first student, I was able to see how much improvement could be had with one-on-one tutoring. After asking another student if she understood the teacher at school and being quietly told, “No, we move around a lot,” I was reminded of how hard these children have it and how much help they need. It’s a shame that so many kids are falling behind due to circumstances completely out of their control. It’s good to see School on Wheels helping to alleviate some of the difficulty these students have.
Trish Arias, Regional Coordinator
– Jin Tan. Jin joined us in 2014 as an in-person tutor at one of our partner shelters in Compton. Since moving to New York City, Jin has continued to tutor with us online. Jin brings consistency, positivity, grit, and interactivity to his sessions. Often, you will find Jin and his student working for 90-120 minutes at a time! We are fortunate to have Jin on our team. His students are better off because of him.
In his own words:
School on Wheels is one of the few organizations that permits you to make a direct impact on children’s lives. Although tutoring over a computer does bring its challenges, the platform School on Wheels has chosen is incredibly powerful and accommodating. When I first met my student Briana, she was discouraged and unmotivated about school. Initially unresponsive to my efforts, she slowly opened up as we played a few games and drew together over the shared white space on the tutoring platform. She was soon eager to learn. Now she sometimes refuses breaks in favor of continuing the lesson!
Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator