Feb 24

Volunteers of the Month – February 2023

February 24, 2023

Isabel Moon

Isabel Moon

Isabel has always loved children and was a nanny and special needs tutor throughout high school and college. When Isabel first moved to L.A. four years ago, she found School on Wheels and immediately knew it was the perfect way for her to work with kids again and become a mentor for underprivileged youth. Isabel’s goal is to become a schoolteacher, and even though that’s not the direction her career went, she wants to stay involved with kids as much as she can.

– Cassandra Parker, Regional Coordinator

I’ve been lucky to work with some truly amazing students during my years with School on Wheels. Their excitement and willingness to learn is both rewarding and inspiring. 

In our last tutoring session, I told my student Oliver that he’s doing a great job and that I’m so proud of him. He was quiet for a second, then said, “I’m proud of you too!” It was so sweet and such a special moment. His dad and I thought it was adorable. 

I tell everyone I can about School on Wheels! I tell them how great of an organization it is and how meaningful it is to work with students who are in need of mentors. I have formed very special connections with the students I’ve worked with, and it really feels good to know you’re making a positive impact in their lives. Go sign up! 

Kristen Wang

Kristen is such a kind, compassionate and dedicated volunteer. The level of care, support, mentorship and guidance she provides her student is above and beyond. Her student adores her and truly values Kristen’s role in their life. Kristen is a wonderful tutor and always makes learning fun for her student. She had deep empathy and is an incredible champion for her student. It’s truly a honor to have Kristen in my region. 

– Stephanie Swenseid, Regional Coordinator

Before going into graduate school, I was a high school teacher for a couple of years. I noticed that students who were experiencing homelessness did not perform as well in class as students who had access to resources. I never knew how to help those students because as a teacher, I needed to make sure that I was also giving my attention to all the other students in my class. When I found out about School on Wheels, I knew this was the way I can help the underrepresented students.

The most rewarding part about tutoring is being able to learn more about the world through the eyes of my student. Many people think the only way you become wiser is by becoming older. There is some truth in that but I think you can also become wiser by connecting with people, especially people who are wise like my student, Laura! I have learned so much about Laura’s culture/roots, her different volunteering experiences, her role in activism, and so much more. Once, Laura once made a snowman for her class. That was a lot of fun! I also remember her writing a short story for class and it was a most excellent short story indeed!

I would tell anyone remotely interested in volunteering as a tutor that practicing simply being present (as in, physically present, listening to your student) is the most important quality to have as a tutor. Try it and see!

Karen Chimal

I nominated Karen because since the onboarding process she has shown such joy in becoming a tutor and has been so consistent with Parker throughout these past few months of having her as a volunteer. Her generosity is seemingly endless and I appreciate her involvement within the organization!

– Ashley Cazarez, Regional Coordinator

I grew up with immigrant parents who owned their own business so were often unable or incapable of helping me with my homework. Fortunately for me, I was surrounded by caring adults from neighbors to parent’s of friends who all helped me whenever I needed it. Although I’ve always been very self-sufficient it meant the would to me to have some many people step up to help. I’ve always wanted to pay-it forward and help the next generation of young scholars.

It can be very intimidating if you don’t have a teaching background but School On Wheels actually makes it super easy for the tutor. The training provided me with the tools I need to structure the sessions and the website has a ton of resources which helps relieve the stress of lesson planning. I look forward to our session every week and it helps provide a much needed break from day-today work.