A few words come to mind when thinking of our amazing volunteers… dependable, caring, committed, inspiring. These words and more describe our featured volunteer, Chris Ross. Chris has been a volunteer with School on Wheels for over 5 years. Within that time, he has dedicated over 130 hours to helping our students at three of our partner locations.
Being present each week for our students and forming connections is key in helping our students succeed, which are two strengths Chris practices each week. “He always remembers something about the students, sometimes things I don’t remember, like favorite books, movies, games. He always engages the student,” recalls School on Wheels staff member, Tonia Carriger, who worked with Chris at one of our domestic violence shelters for the past two years. “He often starts the tutoring hour with a joke for the student, and then he asks what kind of a day the student had and what they want to work on first.”
For the last two school years, Chris worked consistently with a kindergarten student named Theo. Chris always remembered multiple details about Theo’s life week to week. While Theo brought a lot of energy to the tutoring hour, Chris’ calm and consistent demeanor helped him reach Theo and hold productive tutoring sessions. Whether Chris was working with Theo, who has since moved out of the shelter, or another student, the time he takes to get to know each student makes all the difference in how the tutoring hour goes.
One of Tonia’s comments on Chris’ interactions with the kids really made an impact on me. “I don’t believe he has ever let a student leave tutoring without telling that student how much he enjoyed working with him or her that day.” His current program coordinator, Megan, agreed with Tonia’s praise saying, “He works well with every student and I’m so thankful he’s part of my team.”
Aside from tutoring, Chris applies for a yearly matching grant through his employer to help support our programs, adding even more value to the hours of tutoring he so generously donates.
Dedicated and caring tutors like Chris are a true asset to the kids we serve every day. There is no doubt in my mind that he has inspired many of our kids over the past 5 years!
Inspired to become a tutor? Apply to volunteer today.