I started tutoring in January 2010 after being referred to School on Wheels by a friend. I saw tutoring as a great way for me to give back to the community in a way I hadn’t before – by giving my time. What I didn’t expect was that I would get as much out of it as the kids. Since I started tutoring, Tuesdays have gone from just another day on the calendar to my favorite day of the week. I look forward to going to the Julian Center each week and working with some of my favorite students. Nothing beats the look on a child’s face the moment they realize how to solve a problem that they didn’t understand going into the session or finishing a book they thought was too difficult.
Throughout my 3+ years as a School on Wheels volunteer, I have tutored at many different locations. Most of my experiences have been with emergency shelters, where students can stay from two weeks to two months. Tutoring this year at the Julian Center was my first opportunity to work with a student for the span of a school year. Throughout the year, I got to know and work with one girl in particular – a kindergartner named Sarah. When we started working together in the fall, Sarah had a hard time sitting still and listening for more than five minutes at a time. By the end of the year, we could get through a whole hour of tutoring and her spelling and reading had improved drastically. Being able to see Sarah’s development throughout the school year while building a bond with her solidified for me that the time I spend tutoring is worth every minute.
To anyone thinking about becoming a School on Wheels tutor, I promise that you will get as much out of it as you put in. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made and can’t wait for tutoring to start back up in the fall.
Kurt Melin, 2012-13 Tutor of the Year
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