Volunteers of the Month – August 2022
Will is the epitome of a supportive and dedicated tutor. He not only prioritizes his students’ academic success but their emotional well-being as well. Will takes the time to know his students and who they are in times of success and struggle, and in doing so, has been well-equipped to respond when his students need him the most.
– Eden Ettenger, Regional Coordinator
What inspired me to volunteer with School on Wheels was the realization that I’d been doing a lot more thinking globally than I had been acting locally. It was time for me to roll up my sleeves and get involved first-hand.
The most rewarding part of tutoring has been the opportunity to positively impact a child’s life. There is no better feeling than ending a session knowing that my student became measurably better at whatever we worked on that day.
One memorable experience I had while working with my student is when his baby sister joined our session. She wanted to spend time with her brother, so my student took over as the tutor and capably explained to his sister the concepts we were working on that day.
I would tell anyone who’s considering volunteering that if nothing changes, nothing changes. It’s up to each and every one of us to stand up and shoulder some of the load if we want to make a real and lasting impact on our community. For me, there’s no more gratifying experience than tutoring.
I decided to nominate Casey because of the progress she has made with her student, Mario. She is incredibly dedicated to his educational journey and progress, which I find admirable.
– Aeriell Woodhams, Regional Coordinator
I had previously volunteered independently as a tutor at a family shelter and found it tremendously rewarding, so when my mom told me about School on Wheels, there was simply no looking back! I really value building relationships and trust with my students, seeing them open up to new possibilities and discover new passions.
The first time my student Mario and I worked together on a fantasy story, I asked him to come up with a protagonist. He came back to me in minutes with a fully-realized, complex character, with motivations and a worldview distinct from his own. I was blown away!
If you are thinking about seeing what it’s like, do it! School on Wheels provides so much structure and support that my only regret is not volunteering with them sooner!
Caleb has a wonderful ability to connect with his student, making them feel as if they can do anything in the world. He makes his sessions fun and inspires a love for learning. He is kind, loving and supportive, and great about making sure to keep his student’s parent updated and sharing all the wonderful things they are learning. Caleb is a true champion for his student and his student’s parent, and is a wonderful role model.
– Stephanie Swenseid, Regional Coordinator
I became a volunteer tutor with School on Wheels because I was interested in making a difference, in any way I could, in helping a student who was struggling in school. The most rewarding part of tutoring is watching someone experience that moment where the lightbulb turns on and they realize what they’re capable of. It’s also been very exciting to work with a student who is still forming their opinions about the world around them.
Each week, we do an activity where my student Bradley asks me a question he’s curious to know the answer to. Between sessions I research the topic, then present the answer to him the following week. Together we’ve learned why trees are brown, why bunnies are so hyper, and most recently, why you can’t punch water. His questions always keep me on my toes, and I hope to keep encouraging that same curiosity.
Each week we end our session by reading from a Dr. Seuss book of short stories. When we first started working together, Bradley preferred to listen while I read; recently, however, he asked if he could read the story to me. When I think back to that afternoon, it’s hard to describe how special it was to see him take the initiative to try something that he was once intimidated by and also see how much he had improved in his reading abilities.
Tutoring with Schools on Wheels is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can have. You’ll work with your student on their good days, their bad days, and all the ones in between. You’ll encourage them when they struggle and celebrate them when they succeed. You’ll learn about their hopes, their fears, and see the world from their perspective. It’s a simple commitment, but the impact you can make on a student’s life cannot be overstated — I really can’t recommend it enough!