April 2015 Volunteer Stories

Volunteer tutors are the heart and soul of School on Wheels. Every month we feature tutors who are making a difference in their community. Read their stories below.

Volunteer Stories Archive

Region 1 – Los Angeles

Amarilis Bolaños, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

Amarilis Bolaños. Amarilis has been an amazing School on Wheels tutor and tutor coordinator for the past year. Her creativity and passion for teaching have made learning fun for the students that she works with. Amarilis is always willing to help when needed, even on her non tutoring days. Her assistance as a tutor coordinator has been of tremendous help. Each week Amarilis provides consistency to her students, logs her hours regularly and uses creative techniques to engage the students in learning. Here is what Amarilis has to say about her experience as a tutor:

I could not have been happier when I stumbled upon the website and learned that School on Wheels combines both the issues of homelessness and education, two topics of interest to me. I was excited to be able to become a volunteer and tutor a group of teens. Although it can be a bit difficult to work with teenagers, it has also been fulfilling, especially when they open up about their struggles in school and personal life. School On Wheels has taught me how important it is to be persistent and how valuable volunteering can be. Being a volunteer not only makes a small difference in the students’ lives, but in mine as well. A year later I could not have asked for a better organization to be a part of.

Thank you for your dedication; you are such an amazing tutor and tutor coordinator, Amarilis!

Marisol Farfan, Regional Coordinator

Region 3 – Westside

Ruben Maldonado, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

Ruben Maldonado. My experience tutoring with School on Wheels has been fantastic. I joined School on Wheels expecting an academic setting, primarily working with the student on homework and ensuring he stays on track. Not only did my student and I work diligently on his homework, we were able to connect. Simply listening to him about his school week and his struggles helped me understand him and evaluate my approach in tutoring and mentoring him. It was a reminder to me that oftentimes students underestimate themselves or are unaware of their potential to do well. However, with some guidance, they can develop a love for learning and translate that to success in school. Altogether, this makes for an enriching experience and has helped me grow as well. Thanks for the opportunity, School on Wheels!

Blue Mc Donnell, Regional Coordinator

Region 4 – Long Beach, San Pedro

Jessica Prosper Seymour, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

Jessica Prosper Seymour . I found School on Wheels in September 2014 when I was searching for a way to serve the homeless in Long Beach. It is been a greatly rewarding experience; my student A’janna has been a source of inspiration to me to search the internet for interactive and engaging projects to do with her. A’janna loves science! Whenever I see her get excited about some project I’ve brought, I am reminded why I make the extra effort. It has been a great privilege to work with her; I hope I can continue to stimulate her curiosity in science.

Jessica has been an extraordinary tutor and is the Tutor Coordinator at her shelter now. Thank you so much for going above and beyond, Jessica. You make all the difference!

Louis Mena, Regional Coordinator

Region 5 – Echo Park, Hollywood, Highland Park, Silverlake, Mid-City

Ruba Hsen, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

Ruba Hsen. I’m so proud to honor Ruba as the Tutor of the Month. She started with School on Wheels last December and has done an amazing job! From the very first session Ruba has been supportive of her student. Besides helping her student receive some of her best school grades, Ruba is preparing her student for success by helping her organize a vision board to see her dreams!

In her own words:

I joined School on Wheels shortly after moving to Los Angeles. I wanted to become part of the team because I have always had a passion for helping people and getting involved in my community. Education has helped to make my dreams come true; I appreciate every teacher and mentor who has believed in me along the way. Madison is so much fun to work with and has a positive attitude about learning. I admire her in so many ways. Thanks to School on Wheels for giving me this amazing opportunity!

Lancella Hunter, Regional Coordinator

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley

Debbie Bloom, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

Debbie Bloom. Debbie has been an amazing addition to our organization since September 2014. She is a wonderful tutor who cares a lot about her student and proudly raves about him and his accomplishments. In her own words:

As my retirement from the Los Angeles Unified School District was nearing, I started feeling nostalgic about all the students I taught and counseled during my thirty years of employment. I imagined how I’d miss those bright eyes, curious faces, and exciting learning moments! To enjoy my retirement, I needed to stay connected to the world of education. When I found Schools on Wheels, I knew it was the place for me. I wanted the opportunity to work with students who, unfortunately, have had too much instability in their lives to be successful at school. My experience with Schools on Wheels has, thus far, exceeded my expectations. I’ve been blessed to be paired with an amazing fifth grade boy, who fills me with faith and cheer during every tutoring session.

Thank you, Debbie, for being such a caring, consistent and committed tutor!

Lisette Gaeta, Regional Coordinator

Region 10 – Orange County

Anne and Cameron Deguzman, School on Wheels Tutors of the Month

Anne and Cameron Deguzman. Anne and her son Cameron are definitely a dynamic duo! They started tutoring two siblings back in August of 2014 and have continued tutoring them since. Both of their students have shown incredible progress; the students’ mother and their students are so thankful. Anne has many years of experience homeschooling her own children. So she brings extra materials for their sessions that are fun and engaging. Cameron is wise beyond his years and is really dedicated to his student. They are a perfect team and we are so grateful to have them as volunteers at School on Wheels!

In their own words:

We have both enjoyed volunteering for School on Wheels this past year! Both Bruce and J.R. have such adventurous, warm personalities which immediately drew us in. We are greeted week after week with smiles and stories that make the time spent with them feel too short. The four of us together are dedicated to making learning fun and interesting, whether it’s practicing spelling words, working on math problems, science assignments, or brain teasers!

We were first introduced to Schools on Wheels from a flier we saw posted on a bulletin board at UCLA. After learning more about School On Wheels, we felt like it was a good volunteer fit for the both of us. We wanted to be a part of helping others see the potential within themselves and the role education plays in helping to achieve one’s goals for a bright future.

Lilian Pahn, Regional Coordinator

Online Tutoring

Folu Oyefeso, School on Wheels Tutor of the Month

Folu Oyefeso. It is an honor to highlight Folu Oyefeso as our online tutor of the month. Folu moved to Washington to continue his education after originally joining School on Wheels as an in-person volunteer. We are lucky to have Folu. Miles away, he continues to make a difference.

In his own words:

Overall, online tutoring works well for me because I can adjust sessions to easily work within my schedule. The location doesn’t matter too. Since starting online tutoring in January, my experience has been very eye-opening and inspiring! The look on students’ faces when they understand a new concept is invaluable.

One of my greatest successes was when I received an email from a student after our final session. In the email, he said how much my tutoring meant to him. He even referred to me as an older brother, which meant so much to me. Fortunately, the student was able to move forward from the program to a better environment. I hope to continue tutoring as long as I can with School On Wheels!

Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator