Month: September 2017

Sep 21

Upworthy – How Former Student, Angela, Defied the Odds Through Magic

It was just before Thanksgiving when then-high school junior Angela Sanchez and her father lost their home in Glendale, California.

A perfect storm of financial and family problems left her architect father unemployed, and the hardships soon led to eviction.

They slept in a car for the first few months, keeping up appearances of normalcy as best they could. Eventually, they found their way to a cold-weather shelter, then a family shelter.

But these were little more than places to sleep, and while it certainly helped to have a roof over their heads, it wasn’t enough to stop the stress of poverty and homelessness.

Despite it all, Sanchez did what she could to keep her grades — and her attendance — up. Her father had always taught her that education was incredibly important, and she had just started a new after-school club at the beginning of the year.

The theme of that club? Magic.

“A magician, by profession, is someone who is withholding knowledge,” she explains.

And Sanchez’s desire for hidden knowledge — to move beyond the hand that life had dealt her to experience something more — pushed her to succeed.

But just like magic, it would take a little know-how to get her there. That didn’t stop her from trying, though.

From a young age, Sanchez was drawn to the history of magic and magicians.

Everything from witchcraft to voodoo to Harry Houdini — particularly the ways they all tied back to women’s roles in society. Women who practiced magic were historically condemned while men were revered. Even as magic became more theatrical, women were still relegated to the role of assistants.
The history of women in magic resonated with Sanchez’s thirst for knowledge, particularly when the odds are stacked against you.

After all, even AP calculus is still a secret knowledge of the world.

But it wasn’t easy. As her anxiety and uncertainty about the future got the best of her, even magic club began to fall apart her senior year, and calculus turned out to be an even greater struggle than she imagined.

Sanchez’s plummeting grades threatened the future she’d been looking forward to (one that, she hoped, would take her to UCLA).
That’s when she discovered School on Wheels, a nonprofit that offers tutoring support for children struggling with poverty and homelessness.

The nonprofit paired her with an astrophysics graduate student from Cal Tech.

“Making that connection was the best thing that ever happened to me while being homeless, and since then I have maintained a constant relationship with them,” she says.

Her tutor not only offered her guidance in AP calculus, but he also gave her some “secret knowledge” to help unlock the mysterious realm of the college application process, a process that many underprivileged students are unsure of how to navigate.
A little support went a long way, and Sanchez was accepted to UCLA.

And by calling on that same tutor, Sanchez was also able to track down a variety of local community scholarships, and learned about the differences between need, merit, and passion-based support as she navigated her way through a pile of applications.

Read the full article on upworthy.com here.

Sep 13

‘Y&R’ Joins Forces with School on Wheels

For those planning to attend “‘” Fan Event on Saturday, August 19, you’ll not only get the chance to meet your favorite stars from the top rated daytime drama series, you’ll also be able to ensure those less fortunate can start the new school year on the right track.

In partnership with School on Wheels, a Los Angeles based non-profit organization specializing in tutoring and mentoring for homeless children in grades K-12, fans can drop off school supplies as part of the School on Wheels school supply drive. The organization’s mission is to provide each child in need with a brand new backpack filled with much-needed school supplies.

As a thank you for your donation, each attendee who donates new school supplies will receive a free raffle ticket good for an exclusive prize from the show.

Note: In order to receive a raffle ticket, the value of the supply donated must be $5.00 or greater. Additionally, school supplies must be new; no cash donations will be accepted.

Sep 12

Ask A Tutor Tuesday – 9/12/17

“My student is staying back a grade and the rest of his friends are moving on to high school. He doesn’t want to do his work and thinks it’s pointless because he is going to fail anyway. How can I get him motivated to work during sessions?”

As a teenager myself, I can empathize with this student.  Having to repeat a grade and being separated from your friends can be a blow to one’s confidence and cause levels of self esteem to drop. However, this doesn’t mean that a student should stop striving to make the most of his/her educational experience. Choose an appropriate time to sit down with your student and talk to him about his future. Remind him that his decisions can affect the course of his education. Choosing not take school seriously may cause him to be unqualified for future classes he will be interested in taking and even potential job opportunities.  

If your student is still discouraged because he will be separated from his friends, remind him that he can still hang out with them during lunchtime or outside of school. He will also make new friends in his classes, and this experience may open the doors to friendships that wouldn’t have been made otherwise.  

About the tutor: Zarina Yunis is in 9th grade and has been tutoring with School on Wheels since February 2016.

Have a question for our Ask a Tutor feature?
Email askatutor [at] schoolonwheels.org or use the #AskATutor hashtag on any of our social media sites.

Sep 8

Tutors of the Month – September 2017

Region 3 – Westside:

Ryan Hong – School on Wheels plays a vital role in improving homeless children’s lives by helping to narrow gaps in their education. I was looking for a volunteering opportunity where I could have a direct impact on a child’s life, and I am so glad that I found School on Wheels. It has been a truly amazing past few months to watch my student build her confidence in math before she started a new school year. I was initially nervous about tutoring because I didn’t have prior experience in teaching. However, School on Wheels provides resources that I can use to ensure that each tutoring session is meaningful. My student and I had the most productive summer together!

 

Region 2 – South LA:

Lina SuhI first began tutoring with School on Wheels because I believe education is absolutely important to achieve a healthier society, and everyone deserves equal access to learn. Gabriella was having trouble in math when we first began studying, and we would preview her unit tests during our sessions. I teach her methods and tricks to solve the problem and make sure that she understands the concepts. Then I do my best to ensure that she doesn’t become dependent on my help, constantly reinforcing, “check your work,” “you know this,” “it’s all you,” “take it step by step.” She is very eager to excel and I think she has gotten more careful in her work and confident of her skills in our time together.

Online:

Madelaine Behrens – I love my experience with online tutoring so far! Although I also like in-person tutoring, the online experience is great because I am able to tutor even from here in Mozambique, and I’ve noticed that students are able to focus more consistently using the online tutoring program. My online experience has taught me the importance of being creative: sometimes it takes a few different ways of explaining something before it “clicks” for a student. I love checking in each week with my student, Myiesha, and getting to know more about her summer, and I am so grateful to be able to help the same population I loved helping while at USC. Thank you, School on Wheels!

Sep 8

Students of the Month – September 2017

Region 2:

Gabriella (5th Grade) is a very passionate student. She gets very excited talking about her friends and family members, and even when doing her math problems. She rushes through them so eagerly that I have to remind her to slow down. She has a strong sense of loyalty and righteousness and tells me stories of how she stood up for a friend, or asked to sing an extra song at church for her father on Father’s Day. Her nature is beautifully genuine.
– Lina Suh,
Tutor

 


Region 3:

Krystyna’s (7th Grade) most impressive quality is her deep sense of self-awareness; she very well understands her own strengths and weaknesses. In the beginning of summer, we developed a plan together. Every week we practiced math skills. Krystyna sometimes felt discouraged, but instead of giving up, she wanted to discuss the thought process that she used to solve problems. With this approach, she rarely made the same mistakes again.  It has been truly amazing to see Krystyna build confidence in her least favorite subject! – Ryan Hong, Tutor


Online:

Carnell (10th Grade) Before moving to Victorville with his family, Carnell never had his own tutor. Since joining the School on Wheels online tutoring program in the High Desert, Carnell enjoys tutoring twice a week with two different online tutors – one from Cupertino and one from Washington. Carnell’s tutors describe him as a curious learner with a natural inclination towards entrepreneurship and business.
– Ian Chan, Program Administrator (School on Wheels, Inc.)