Jun 18

Volunteers of the Month – June 2024

Shereen Othman

I have a passion for teaching and found that SOW gave me the opportunity to help students that needed the extra support in their schooling. 

My student hopes to end up going to college and later becoming a doctor. It’s wonderful to see his willingness to learn and understand the subjects at hand; I found it heartening when he asked me why I can’t come more than once a week, and that he really likes and looks forward to our tutoring sessions. 

If you’re considering tutoring, I’d encourage you to embrace the opportunity to share your knowledge and skills with others. The sense of satisfaction that comes from seeing your students succeed is truly priceless. As a tutor I have learned the importance of patience, empathy, and adaptability. Each student comes with their own learning style and challenges, which requires me to be flexible in my approach and understanding of their needs.

Christina Kuemerle

During my undergrad at USC I studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador Toward the end of the semester, I wanted to find some opportunities I could get involved with here in Los Angeles, to keep practicing my Spanish. Once I found School on Wheels, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me! I love working with kids and love school, so I knew tutoring at the Learning Center would be something that I would look forward to doing every week.

My biggest takeaway? Trust the process! The relationships you’ll have with your students are just like any other; it’ll take time to build their trust and get close with them, but once you get there it will be so special. Whenever I feel frustrated because my student isn’t listening or keeps fooling around, I just remind myself that their life is so different from mine and their childhood is so different from how mine was. I try to cut them a lot of slack and show them as much positivity as I can, even when challenges or frustrations come up.

Tutoring has reminded me how incredible it is to learn. Going back to the basics of math and writing and watching how my student is able to work through problems, put new concepts together, try new solutions — and not be afraid to get things wrong — has reminded me of how exciting and rewarding it can be to learn! My favorite thing is when I see in their eyes that the concepts we were working on have clicked. They have definitely taught me to keep on learning!

Jay Cramer

I found School on Wheels when I retired from teaching and was looking for volunteer work. It is great to give back to this population and impact these kids while they are young. 

I’ve learned that as a tutor, you need to be there for the students. They have so many let downs in their life, it’s important to be there for them. Don’t push them too much, work slowly where they are. Give them respect and they will give you respect.

Being a teacher has helped me know what to expect and how to approach things. Keeping one of my previous students’ attention was hard, 5 mins working and then taking a break. Patience and seeing how far they go and pushing them. Patience and trying different ways. My students have taught me to enjoy life, to look at things differently. I’m re-discovering the joy of teaching. They give me that joy when they get something right or an award; that look on their face brings me so much joy.

Ann Santia

After I had retired and finally had time to do what I wanted to do, I looked for an organization that would make a difference. School on Wheels has been the answer for me.

I’m not currently tutoring, but volunteering as part of the support structure that makes tutoring possible has taught me so much, from researching venues, talking with the organizers, to making contacts and networking. Helping find new tutors for our students is worthwhile, but everything we do — helping one student, booking one event, getting one email response — makes a difference.

Patience and persistence is key, and knowing that I have the support and encouragement from the School on Wheels staff makes it possible. My supervisors Susan and Elizabeth are always there for me, and together we are making a real difference for these students.