Jul 1

Tutors of the Month – July 2016

Skid Row Learning Center

David Kagen, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– David Kagen. If you have tutored at the Skid Row Learning Center, then you have most likely met Mr. David. We are so grateful that Mr. David joined our team in 2009 and although his job sends him away on location, he always spends time with the kids when in town. Mr. David comes in two or three times a week when he is in town. He helps every age group in every subject, plays sports out back, does puzzles with the little ones, plays video games with the older kids and generally helps everyone with everything! It is impossible to figure out how many lives Mr. David has impacted since he joined our team because he leaves everyone he meets smiling and feeling happier. Mr. David could win the honor of Tutor of the Month every month!

Allison Maldonado, Skid Row Learning Center Instructor

Region 1 – East LA

Wendy Rodriguez, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Wendy Rodriguez. Wendy is a wonderful tutor and Tutor Coordinator at a domestic violence shelter in Region 1. She oversees our Saturday reading/arts and crafts club and provides a welcoming environment for her fellow tutors and students. She’s passionate about our program, never shies away from a task and is always looking for new ways to contribute to School on Wheels. When she saw a need for more books at the shelter, she organized a book drive and collected over two hundred books for our students! Wendy’s commitment and hard work never cease to amaze me. I’m so fortunate to have her on my team.

Here is what Wendy has to say about her experience as a tutor:

“When I found School on Wheels I knew I just had to volunteer. I desire to help our youth find their passion. I love inspiring creativity, instilling the importance of education and watching them grow. I also enjoy teaching my students that they can realize their dreams with enough drive and perseverance.”

Daisy Arce, Regional Coordinator

Region 3 – Westside

Zhanna Guzhavina, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Zhanna Guzhavina. Zhanna has been such a big help this summer. She has taken on individual students at two different sites and also helps at group tutoring in Venice and at the Skid Row Learning Center. The kids love Zhanna. I am really appreciative of all of her time, dedication, and passion for School on Wheels.

“After graduating from USC, I really wanted to volunteer teaching kids because I strongly believe in the importance of giving back and the power of education. School on Wheels was a perfect fit, and volunteering here has been such an exceptional experience! All the kids here are so bright and all of them deserve a bright future, which is why I admire School on Wheels and am so grateful to be a part of this amazing organization. My favorite part about tutoring at School on Wheels is getting to know every student and becoming their friend. It is so fun teaching them and spending time together, and there is no better feeling than when a student understands a concept! I learn from the kids as much as they learn from me, and this has truly been one of the best experiences of my life.”

Kyle McDonough, Regional Coordinator

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena

Patrick Anderson, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Patrick Anderson. Phenomenal, is the word that comes to mind when I think about this month’s Region 5 Tutor of the Month. Patrick started with School On Wheels in 2014 and he has been great! Patrick’s seriousness and attitude toward his commitment to our program is immediately noticeable.
He is not only a consistent tutor but he goes above and beyond to make sure his student is engaged during his tutoring sessions, and excelling in school. Recently Patrick has taken on a second student at a boys’ group home in Silverlake. I know his new student will benefit from his support. It is a great pleasure to work with such a wonderful individual and I look forward to him continuing with our program! In his own words:

“I first came to School on Wheels because I was looking for a meaningful and useful volunteer opportunity, and was also considering becoming a teacher. I liked School On Wheels’ mission and attitude, so I signed up to tutor and was paired with Tyler. Even though schoolwork wasn’t always his favorite thing to do, I could instantly tell he was a smart, witty, and thoughtful kid who was eager to learn,. Seeing Tyler get excited by an idea or figuring something out is always a thrill. He has challenged me to be a better teacher by showing me how much more a student learns when the material is made relevant to his or her interests and life.”

Lancella Hunter, Regional Coordinator

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Darien Onori, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Darien Onori. Darien is a consistent and dedicated tutor! She first joined School on Wheels in December 2015 and has been working hard ever since. Darien is very patient and flexible with her student and has supported her both academically and emotionally. Last month Darien took on another challenge by becoming a Tutor Coordinator that helps lead first sessions. She has been a great help in getting volunteers started tutoring! Darien’s tutoring and mentorship with Camryn is admirable!

In her own words, “School on Wheels has changed my life. I don’t think Camryn realizes how much she helps me grow every week. I don’t just tutor her, she tutors me and has no idea how much she has impacted my life, for the better. I couldn’t have chosen a better organization to be a part of. I chose to be involved with School on Wheels because I did not have anyone to guide me or help me in academics as I was growing up, and it was hard. So I wanted to be that help for someone else whether it be tutoring or just having someone there every week, someone they could count on.”

Brianna Grothe, Regional Coordinator

Online Tutoring

Elizabeth Vitanza, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

– Elizabeth Vitanza. Elizabeth has been an online tutor with us since October of 2015. Her consistency is key; the energy, focus, and love she brings to her tutoring sessions have provided a foundation of success for the students she works with. A full-time teacher, Elizabeth has also dedicated her time in-person to surprise and support her online tutoring student, Tyler. We are lucky to have Elizabeth on our team.

In her own words:

“Beyond the obvious benefits of getting quite good at dividing and multiplying fractions, working with Tyler has made me look forward to Monday afternoons. I’m sure our faces both light up a bit when I log on or walk into the School on Wheels Skid Row Learning Center (SRLC) to work with him. I have seen firsthand that the students School On Wheels helps are smart, motivated, gracious, and resilient. They have caring, loving parents who want them to succeed, just like other parents do. The SOW staff are endlessly patient and provide the structure that children need and crave (even more so I’m sure in the context of being homeless). I feel much more passionate about finding solutions to homelessness in LA and I am hoping to encourage my coworkers and even some of my older students to sign up to tutor online. I work full time and have my own small child at home – if I can find an hour a week, I’m sure a lot of other people can too.”

Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator