Category: Star Volunteers

Oct 2

Tutors of the Month – October 2017

Region 2 – South LA:

David Salazar – My first experience in tutoring for School On Wheels was when I met Issa who taught me how important it is to help kids during difficult times in their lives and how we can help so much by just being there. I learned as much from my experience tutoring as Issa learned in being confident in his math and himself.

 

 

Region 2 – South LA:

Pamela WronaI wholeheartedly believe that fostering a love for learning and an appreciation for the power of education early in life is so important for a student’s future success. I became a volunteer because I wanted to help children who didn’t necessarily have that support in their lives. It’s been such a joy to help my student Marie feel more confident in her studies and to see her eyes light up when she “gets” a concept. After one session, she told me “I wish we could do tutoring EVERY day!” Of course, that little comment made my day!


Region 5 – Hollywood, Silverlake, Pasadena:

Marissa High – I started working as a volunteer because I was feeling like I wasn’t making enough of an impact. I wanted to get involved and see direct results, which is why this is such an amazing program. It does not take up tons of my time, but it is an impactful amount of time for my student. I would say my favorite tutoring moments with him have been when he finishes something he’s been struggling with, and he’s excited that he was able to accomplish it. When I see that excitement, it’s an amazing feeling.

Region 10 – South Orange County:

Chris Ruoff – About a year ago I received an email from LinkedIn with volunteer opportunities that matched my profile – and this was one of them. I was first assigned to a winter shelter and spent 6 months there until it closed in April. In May I helped open a Digital Learning Center at a school site, and just last month we started tutoring at a new shelter in Orange. This has been such an incredible journey. I feel such a great sense of purpose in providing support and consistency for our kids.

 

Online:

Jishnu Basu – I am thankful for the opportunity to use my passion for math to help students who need it the most. I’ve tutored multiple students and each one had different strengths and weaknesses, and each one required a change in my teaching style. This is crucial because in one-on-one tutoring, tutors have the advantage of being able to focus and mold their teaching to a specific student, which cannot be done in the classroom. One of the most interesting aspects of being an online tutor is that I learn something new each week, from new techniques to solve a problem to how to work with different personalities.

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!

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.