Category: Star Volunteers

Aug 1

Tutors of the Month – August 2017

Region 9 – North Orange County:

Diana Ly – Greetings! I have been tutoring with SOW for about 7 months, and I cannot be more grateful to have stumbled upon this great organization! I love having the opportunity to spend my time tutoring and also help build self-esteem. It always amazes me how much I am able to learn about the students and, in turn, learn more about myself. I am truly blessed to be part of School on Wheels! Thank you!

 

 

Region 6 – Inland Empire:

Stephanie SwenseidEducation is something I’ve always been passionate about; in particular, I am interested in helping to remove barriers that prevent children from receiving an education. From the moment I joined SOW, I knew it was the perfect fit for me! The passion and dedication of SOW is incredible. Additionally, they provide me with so many resources that help me be the best tutor I can be. I am proud to be a part of the SOW family. SOW has enriched my life and given me tools to help educate children in need. I am grateful for my experience with SOW and look forward to positively impacting the children we encounter through our work together.

Region 8 – Ventura County:

Stacey Millet, Tutor Coordinator – When I discovered School on Wheels, I was in search of a meaningful volunteer experience, an organization where I could do something small to better society and my local community. I found those things and more with School on Wheels. As a volunteer, I feel part of a great village of other volunteers, staff members and families that inspire me with their tenacity, strong hearts and willingness to use education to help the lives of children. In return, my time volunteering has made me want to give more. Sure, it can be difficult with a full-time schedule and busy life, but seeing the success and change in my students has made it all worth it.

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Theresa Sterling – I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years. I love helping students learn. I also love volunteering. So when I heard about School on Wheels, I thought it would be a perfect fit. SOW is a wonderful organization for so many reasons: the dedicated individuals running the program; the many volunteers; and of course the children and their families. I can only imagine the difficulties and challenges these students experience, so anything we can do to give them confidence and a love of learning is a benefit that can’t be beat.


Online Tutoring:

Kimberly Kutz, Khan Academy – I think the most surprising thing for me in online tutoring has been just how incredibly sweet and eager to learn the kids have been in general. I came in expecting that the students would have a hard time concentrating because they experience so much adversity in their lives, but with very few exceptions the students I’ve worked with have been confident, energetic, and really excited about learning. My favorite part of online tutoring has been seeing kids feel proud about how well they know the material and helping to build their confidence in school and in life. And I love that I can tutor online all the way from Northern California!

Skid Row Learning Center:

AmeriCorps VISTAs – This summer, the Learning Center is honored to have three amazing AmeriCorps members helping with big projects. We welcome Colleen Guzman, Jose Mendoza, and Adriana Toranzo-Rivero. They are excelling at improving our coding and virtual reality curriculum, designing and finding new worksheets for our Academic Program, organizing all games and activities by standard for easier access, and recruiting for volunteers and partnerships through local business outreach. Their impact is immeasurable, and the amount of students they help will make the future better for all!

Region 3 – Westside:

Armin Szatmary – I have been volunteering for 18 years and heard about School on Wheels through the social justice program at my Temple and through another tutor. I believe getting an education is a really big deal and feel strongly that children should get the best education they can. After working as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for many years, I know how hard it is for kids that move around and don’t get the education that they deserve. I really enjoy my time tutoring with my student, Mickey, and he is a really nice kid and fun to be with. I enjoy our hour together.

Armin always puts so much time and thought into his sessions and comes with a folder of activities and worksheets for him and Mickey to work with. He is a thoughtful teacher, and I can tell he truly cares about education and helping his students. Armin goes above and beyond as a tutor, always participating in School on Wheels events and doing whatever he can to figure out ways to engage Mickey in tutoring sessions, and we feel really lucky to have him as a tutor!

Jul 6

Tutors of the Month – July 2017

Region 8 – Ventura County:

Rachel Bravo – Because my employer, Ventura County Credit Union, allows employees to volunteer during work hours, I wanted to do something to help kids. My son had just left for college, and I was hoping to help other kids get that opportunity. I “met” School on Wheels and loved how there was such a close connection between the tutors, families and the organization. I’ve tutored Ryleigh for almost two school years and have enjoyed learning with her. Ryleigh is starting middle school next year and I hope to be able to move on with her.

 

Region 1 – East LA:

Chris WebsterAfter moving to Los Angeles from the UK in 2015, I was shocked to see the number of homeless and displaced people having to survive in the city. Working with Schools on Wheels makes me feel like I’m doing something to support my community. Meanwhile, the time I’ve spent with my student has been incredibly rewarding. Whilst I may have helped him with his schoolwork, there’s an in-the-moment wisdom to him which I try to take away from all of our sessions.

 

Region 8 – Ventura County:

Ben Morgan – As a child of two educators, School on Wheels has given me an outlet for my genetic predisposition towards teaching. I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the organization as a whole. The time commitment for tutoring is modest, and yet it has been so rewarding getting to know Charlie and seeing him progress over the last school year. As a bonus, my pre-algebra skills are the best they’ve been in decades!

 

Jun 2

Tutors of the Month – June 2017

Online Tutoring

Ryan Geitner – Wow! I tutor online from North Carolina. In many ways, coming to my students through a screen has broken down the borders of communication and opportunity. It’s incredible to have these young friends across the country who lead lives so different from my own but reflect the same (if not greater) desire to learn and grow. It is truly my pleasure that I am able to log on to the School on Wheels online tutoring website and be connected with a wealth of smiling faces that teach me, far more than I can ever hope to teach them.

 

Region 4 – Long Beach, South Bay Cities:

John ParkHello! My name is John Park. I’ve been with School on Wheels for over a year now and it has been nothing less than wonderful. It can sometimes be challenging to work with disadvantaged kids but developing relationships and making a difference in these children’s lives is a blessing.

 

 

Region 3 – Westside:

Elizabeth Hartog – I feel lucky to be a tutor with School On Wheels. Children are our national treasure and there’s no greater feeling than to help them along in their life’s journey. The added plus is how rewarding it is to be around them. It’s really great to spend an hour helping with a challenging subject at school or hearing about a great test score or having a good laugh together. They keep us in touch with who we are and what really matters. Thank you, School On Wheels for a wonderful two years!

 

Apr 6

Tutors of the Month – April 2017

Region 6 – Inland Empire

Karen Mooney – Last summer, I was looking into local non-profits for volunteer opportunities. I was excited to find School on Wheels. The website information sounded exactly right for me, and my daughter, a social worker, expressed high regard for the organization. As a retired elementary school teacher, tutoring allows me to use my experience in a worthwhile way. I get to do what I know and love, helping a child gain some needed skills and confidence that will lead to reaching her potential.

 

Region 4 – Long Beach, South Bay Cities:

Audrey HsuOver the summer, I looked up organizations that I could donate the proceeds from my ring and pin business, Audcessories, to, and after some research, I found School on Wheels! Their goal of helping homeless children fulfill their academic endeavors peaked my interest, and I knew that was the organization for me. I decided to both volunteer as a tutor with them and donate the money to help out in two ways.

 

Region 9:

Dave Lindqvist – Initially, I thought School on Wheels was simply just a nonprofit organization that couples tutors with homeless children. Instead, I have realized it is trying to solve a bigger picture than that. I believe School on Wheels wants to stop the perpetual motion of homelessness by nurturing the importance of establishing educational accomplishments and milestones in our youth especially within the underprivileged.

 

Region 8 – Ventura County:

Alexandria Taylor – After becoming aware of the growing number of homeless children in California, I decided to find a way to make a difference. I came across School on Wheels and immediately grew attached to the underlying premise of the organization. Education is important to me, and I believe that with the attainment of knowledge, one is provided with an opportunity to accomplish anything. My experience has been very fulfilling.

 

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Chris Klein – I have always believed it is important to give back to those less fortunate than yourself. School on Wheels has provided me an opportunity to put this philosophy into action and I have enjoyed every moment of the experience. One of the most rewarding parts of being a tutor has been seeing my student’s academic ability and confidence improve. He has visibly become more motivated to learn and continues to surprise me with his determination to fulfill his goals.

 

Skid Row Learning Center:

Peter Banachowski – When people find out I volunteer they always say, “How selfless of you”. I see it opposite, “Selfless?! This is selfish baby”! I tutor because I have a passion for mathematics I know not many hold, and I enjoy injecting it’s beauty and usefulness into others.  Every human is both teacher and student, and every week I’m excited to go back and see what the kids will teach me in exchange for what I teach them.  It is an exercise of my simple belief that if you want to save the world, educate it.

 

Online Tutoring:

Esther Seo – I live in Alaska and I have been an online tutor for almost 2 years now; it has shaped the person I’ve become. I have learned how to be more patient. I love seeing students progress in their learning, and become smarter and smarter with each session. Despite the hardships of grasping difficult concepts, my students always persevere and seeing this inspires me. With each tutoring session, I realize how grateful I am to be able to see the impact that I have on education.

Mar 10

Tutors of the Month – March 2017

Region 7 – San Fernando Valley:

Nargis SaidzadahI have been with School on Wheels for almost a year now, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made to join such a beautiful community. I chose this wonderful organization because my burning passion is to give back and help as many people as I possibly could, in humility & humbleness of course. As a psychology student, who studies brain & behavior almost every day, I can indubitably say that making someone feel good about themselves is one of the best ways to uplift both yourself and them.

 

Region 1 – East LA:

Paul Godoy – Having tutored Oakland elementary students while in college, I joined School on Wheels to continue to do my part in providing the best asset I believe a child can have: an education. School on Wheels has allowed me to work with many wonderful families and their children who despite their situation are always optimistic and eager to learn. During my sessions, I learn and growth as much from my students as they do from me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to empower the lives of these remarkable children.

 

Skid Row Learning Center

Helene Rioux – Every Tuesday, you will find Mrs. Helene sitting at Table 2 among 2nd and 3rd graders. She helps 4-5 kids at a time. They not only focus on academics but Helene likes to teach students French along the way. It’s wonderful to see the students so focused on her words and translations. In her own words: “It is a privilege for me to tutor the kids, they are so positive and ready to embrace life in spite of all difficulties; every Tuesday they enrich my life while I try to give them all the help I can, Thanks to School on Wheels and Ms. Allison.”

 

Online Tutoring:

Deepti Sharma – School on Wheels opens its doors to a brightly painted oasis of learning and fun, away from the grim realities of daily shelter life. It also provides a safe haven for homeless youngsters to have fun, make friends and be physically active. This is the most positive and caring environment I have ever had the pleasure working in. As an online tutor, the best part is watching kids’ eyes light up when they learn something new or understand something they didn’t understand before, and seeing their excited little faces. It has been and continues to be a very exciting and rewarding experience for me. This is truly a great organization that I am proud to be a part of

 

Region 12 – North Orange County:

Elaine Nguyen – I initially began my experience with School on Wheels out of curiosity. Jesse was welcoming, eager, and incredibly hard-working. There were no barriers between us from day one, and we thrived off of each other. This past year, I have watched him grow immensely in character and intelligence. While I taught him mathematics and social sciences, he taught me patience and perseverance. I am so grateful to School on Wheels for providing me with this opportunity and life-long connection.

 

Region 10 – South Orange County:

Andrea Reinkensmeyer – I decided to get involved with School on Wheels because my teenage daughter is interested in becoming a school teacher and wanted to tutor children. It is a joy to help children grasp their academic material. I have had a fun time helping to coordinate tutors at one of the shelters and enjoy seeing the light bulbs go on in a child’s mind as they understand something. I especially enjoy helping them with math.

 

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Joel Safranek – This month I’m happy to choose Joel as the tutor of the month! There are several examples of why he is a fantastic tutor. He has been with SOW for over 3 years and has gone above and beyond. He is definitely a great role model and mentor to the boys at Boys Republic. In addition, Joel is the wonderful tutor coordinator who always keeps me up-to-date of new students at the location. Besides consistently tutoring each week, Joel has donated funds to the boys for fun movie and pizza nights. Thank you for all you do, Joel! In his own words:

“Working as a School on Wheels tutor with the boys at Silver Lake’s Boys Republic has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. These young men come from very challenging environments, but without exception, they want to do better and make good lives for themselves and be a credit to their families. I’ve forged great friendships with staff and residents and look forward to continuing my work in the months ahead.”

Feb 7

Tutors of the Month – February 2017

Region 1 – East LA:

Diane Lopez – Wanting to do something in the field of education, I would have never thought about tutoring homeless children. Sometimes people forget that homelessness is something that affects everyone, and children are not immune to it. I am so glad that I found School on Wheels because it fills me with such warmth that I cannot explain in words. Seeing my student smiling and growing in her studies keeps me wanting to make sure she gets the best tutoring I can give her. 

 

Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Erna Taylor – I had just come out of an 8 1/2 year retail job at a scrapbooking store, and I was looking for something to do. School on Wheels caught my eye as an opportunity to work with children again. I had been a storyteller for many years, so this seemed perfect. I love words and books, and learning is very important to me. I also come from a big family, so working one-on-one with a child has been a great experience for both me and my student.

 

Region 6 – Inland Empire:

Deborah Myers – Education has always been important to me. Someone once told me, “Never stop learning,” and I took that message to heart. When I came across a notice for School on Wheels, it seemed like a perfect fit for my interests. I chose to work with high school boys in a group foster home. Even though their circumstances present a unique challenge, it’s especially thrilling when I can connect with a student to help expand his knowledge, and through education, help him to build dreams for a future.

 

Skid Row Learning Center:

Jesse Polen – Every Thursday, you will find Mr. Jesse sitting at Table 1 (a.k.a. Mr. Jesse’s Table). He takes on the tough but fun task of working with three or four 1st and 2nd graders at one time. Throughout this time, he not only helps the students complete homework but assists them in raising their scores. Mr. Jesse makes sure the sessions are fun, yet efficient, and is making a lasting impact on these children!

 

Online Tutoring:

Justin Helps – Tutoring with School On Wheels is a welcome change of pace after spending the work day in the world of adults. It is the highlight of my week. It is also very rewarding to see the understanding “click” for a student, and this has proven helpful to my work at Khan Academy. I’m honored to be involved with an organization like School On Wheels, which enables me to have this experience and know that the student benefits as well.