GW Interns/Tutors, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Tom and Jess: Tutors & Team Leaders

For nearly 20 years, FLOC has had an invaluable partnership with George Washington University’s DC Reads program, a program of the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service. Through this partnership, GW students (both volunteers and federal work study employees) are placed as tutors in nonprofits like FLOC. This year,  more than 30 GW DC Reads tutors are placed at FLOC.

Tom Guettler and Jess Williams are serving this year as team leaders for FLOC through the DC Reads program, and they both tutor reading at FLOC during the week.

Tom and Jess

How did you first become involved with For Love of Children?

Tom: I first heard about FLOC through Community Building Community, which is a pre-orientation program for freshman at GW. FLOC sounded like a great way to get involved in the DC community, and some of the guides had great things to say about DC reads as a whole!

Jess: I was looking for a way to get involved in community service when I came to GW, and some friends told me about DC Reads! From there, I chose to work with FLOC, because I was shocked that a city as educated as Washington, DC still has such a high illiteracy rate among children.

What does being a DC Reads Team Leader entail? What do you enjoy about it?

Tom: Generally speaking, we help promote FLOC and generate student interest. Jess and I are also here to be a resource for the GW students who work at FLOC. We help students with their federal work-study arrangements, rescheduling trainings, and facilitate contacting the FLOC office.

Jess: I really enjoy being a resource for students, and having people come to me for help! As coordinators, we also host events within the GW FLOC community. We’ll have movie nights where we share food and watch an educational film, and recently we had a reflection event. Students brought food, and we spent the afternoon discussing out tutoring experiences and sharing stories.

Speaking of reflection, do you have a favorite FLOC memory?

Tom: Last winter, my schedule changed and I wasn’t going to be able to tutor the same student anymore. After I had told both my student and site-coordinator, I ended up changing classes, and was able to return on the same day the following semester. My student was expecting to have a new tutor, and he was excited when I showed up! The coordinator had not told him I was returning, and it meant a lot to know that he cared about having me as a tutor, specifically.

Jess: My story is similar! Last year, I was explaining to my student that I had to go home for summer break. She became a little upset, and repeatedly said she would miss me, asking why I had to leave. I hadn’t realized how close we had become in such a short amount of time, but it meant a lot that she cared whether or not I was there.

Imagine you have sixty seconds to convince someone to tutor with FLOC. What do you say?

Tom: Do it! Tutoring with FLOC has changed the preconceived notions I had about non-profits–FLOC is well-organized, easy to work with, and makes a tangible impact. Tutoring is a wonderful way to give back to the community, and you grow as a person as well.

Jess: Tutoring with FLOC is an excellent way to get out of the “Foggy Bottom bubble,” that you so often hear about here. There is so much more to DC than our neighborhood, and I’m proud to say that I’m invested here. I feel as though I’ve become a citizen of DC, not just a student.

(Samantha Bailey is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator at FLOC.)

GW Interns/Tutors, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Spotlight

Meet Juel and Julian

Juel hugs his brother Julian.
Juel hugs his brother Julian.

Juel, 7, attends H.D. Cooke Elementary School. He is in first grade. At FLOC, Juel goes to the Tuesday Night Reading program and has been at FLOC since October 2013.

In his free time, Juel likes to play soccer with his friends and build Legos. Before tutoring, in the student room, he likes to play Jenga with his brother Julian. Juel’s favorite subjects in school are gym and math.

Juel is a very energetic child, and never fails to provide FLOC staff, tutors, and his fellow students with a laugh. When I asked him what he thinks his brother should be when he grows up he said “a rock star!” When Juel grows up, he wants to be Iron Man from Marvel’s Avengers.

This year in school, Juel hopes to do better in reading in school and reach grade level. Juel enjoys coming in every week with his brother. You can always see them playing together in the FLOC student room before tutoring starts.

Julian, 8, is in the second grade and also attends H.D. Cooke Elementary School. Like Juel, he has been at FLOC for one year and attends the Tuesday Night Reading program.

Julian plays Jenga before the start of the tutoring program.
Julian plays Jenga before the start of the tutoring program.

Julian’s favorite class in school is science because he likes to learn “how things work”. In his free time, Julian likes to go outside, play with his friends, play Uno, and relax. Julian and his brother Juel are big fans of the Marvel’s Avengers. Julian told me he doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up just yet.

Julian’s favorite part of coming to FLOC is “learning new things” and “having fun” with his tutor Rebecca. Julian says that FLOC has helped him advance a level in reading at his school.

(Benjamin Harris is a tutor in the Thursday Night Math program at FLOC).

Events, Interns, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Staff Perspectives

My first month at FLOC: Learning on the Go in Summer Tutoring

Students, FLOC staff and Wilkie staff who came together for Trivia-Scream
Students, FLOC staff and Wilkie staff who came together for Trivia-Scream

I am super excited to write my first blog as the new Bilingual Program Coordinator at FLOC. Although I have only been here for a month, I have participated in several fun activities and have observed some amazing tutor-student pairs. For example, I helped to coordinate the Trivia-Scream trip to Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP, which was a lot of fun. The trivia questions brought back memories of watching the Magic School Bus cartoon show and reading Junie B. Jones books as a child. The students were so engaged in trying to answer the questions (and highly energized by all the ice cream) that they even attempted questions that I did not know the answer to – like how many pillars are on the Lincoln memorial?

Tutor-Student pair
Tutor-Student pair

Other than that trip, I helped to supervise both the Summer Math and Reading programs. As a supervisor, I got to see tutors and their students creatively tackle concepts while still having fun. Before I actually supervised, the interns told me that the only thing I could really prepare for was my flexibility – I needed to be open to trying new things and problem solving in different ways. It wasn’t until program started that I realized what that actually meant. I commend the interns and the tutors for running around, speaking to parents, getting supplies, testing students, sending feedback forms/congratulations certificates, getting snacks, and setting up the store, among other things. It was obvious to me how invested the tutors were in trying to help their students, especially as they stood nervously outside of the Fishbowl rooms as their students tested each day.

The last day of program was very emotional because I knew that the interns were leaving and that program would not start again for another couple of months. I had relied heavily on the interns to get me up to speed on the ins-and-outs of FLOC because of how competent they were and how willing they were to help me. It was very sad to see them go! What was great about the last few days, however, was administering the post-test. While I did not have the pleasure of grading all the tests, the interns let me know that a great number of our students made improvements this summer – which is excellent news!

All in all, I am glad I was able to start during the summer program because it gave some insight as to what the school year will bring. Hopefully, I will get to see some of the same hardworking tutors and students I met this summer at my programs!

(Aurin Agramonte is the NTP Bilingual Program Coordinator at  FLOC) 

GW Interns/Tutors, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Andrew

Andrew Lautz is a GW tutor in the Ross Elementary and both Saturday tutoring programs.

(This story first appeared in the George Washington University DC Reads Newsletter.)

I’ve had the great opportunity to tutor with the For Love of Children (FLOC) program since September and it’s been both an interesting and unique experience to say the least. The first thing I noticed at FLOC was the incredible level of positive energy in the building; this energy exists in the tutors, the students, and the staff. I questioned my own ability to hit the ground running at the program just based on watching already trained tutors work with their student for two hours without skipping a beat in energy level. But what I discovered quickly was that the energy is infectious.

The satisfaction that a tutor can get from seeing a student fully comprehend what they teach them is really what drives this energy. This can be said anywhere, but at FLOC it certainly helps to have a well-trained and equally energetic staff along with a wealth of resources that keep each tutoring session interesting. The students and their tutors work in one of two large and spacious rooms. My first reaction to this spacing was skeptical; I wondered whether or not my student and I would be able to concentrate through what I thought would be chaos. However, the sense of hustle creates a sense of community; groups feed off of each other’s energy and share ideas and games. It’s far better than being isolated in a quiet classroom.

Personally, tutoring has been an amazing experience to offer what resources I do have as a college student to those who may otherwise not have the opportunity: the much aforementioned energy and an understanding of what makes these younger students tick. After all, many of us at GW were there not too long ago. Growing up in a middle-class, rural New England town allowed me to work one-on-one with my teachers which developed my learning quicker than I could have developed it on my own. I want to be able to provide that kind of learning to students who come to FLOC behind in reading or math. Many of them attend urban schools that are low on resources and high in student population. If I can give a student two hours a week to learn using methods and games that they can relate to, I hope that I can make them accelerate their learning to get them caught up to their classmates and beyond.

Any tutoring is great for the DC community, but I’m more than glad I’ve been tutoring at FLOC this year; the program meshes the structure needed to guide the tutor in their lessons but the flexibility needed to personalize the lesson for their student. The staff has been helpful each and every week and the students are engaged and interested. I can just hope that the students my classmates and I have taught have gotten as beneficial an experience as I’ve received from FLOC.

Interns, News

The Neighborhood Tutoring Program Welcomes Spring Interns

The Neighborhood Tutoring Program is excited to announce that we have two new interns from The Washington Center that will be working with us this semester. You’ll be seeing Ashleigh as a Site Coordinator for the Tubman Elementary and Saturday Morning tutoring programs. Lindsay will be a Site Coordinator in the Thursday Night program and will be assisting on new curriculum updates as our Curriculum Intern. So you can get to know them, here is a bit about our new interns in their own words:

My name is Ashleigh Stackpoole and I am currently a senior at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. I recently moved to Washington D.C. for an internship program through the Washington Center. I have never lived outside of New York before so I am very excited to experience Washington D.C. I chose to intern with FLOC because I am extremely passionate about achieving equality for children and young adults within our education system. I believe that education is the key to success and to have the opportunity to be a part of an organization that works to provide this for our children is invaluable.

My name is Lindsay Davis. I am originally from Chesterfield, South Carolina and am currently a junior at Coker College. I am now interning with FLOC through The Washington Center, an academic internship program in Washington, D.C. I am very excited to have the chance to work at FLOC because it will be perfect preparation for the future. I am majoring in Elementary Education, love working with children, and one day want to be a teacher!

On behalf of all of us at FLOC, welcome Ashleigh and Lindsay!

(Kyla Wasserman is the NTP Curriculum Coordinator.)

Interns, News, Staff Perspectives

FLOC says Goodbye to Fall 2011 Intern Ana

For Love of Children’s fall 2011 programs were made possible by the concerted efforts of dedicated volunteers, interns, and staff. As often as possible, we like to acknowledge the work of individuals whose outstanding contributions have made a positive impact on our programs.

One such individual is outgoing intern Ana Turco-Rivas. Ana, a freshperson atAmericanUniversity, interned with FLOC for the 2011 fall semester. As a site coordinator, she facilitated the math tutoring program atRossElementary Schooland the Saturday math tutoring program at FLOC.

A native ofVenezuela, Ana had some initial concerns about the amount of English writing that would be required of her as a Site Coordinator, but she took on assignments without reservation and responded to the demands of the position with great poise. Ana made invaluable contributions not only to our programs but also to the organization by helping with our recruitment initiatives, the student intake process, and occasionally leading parent orientations in Spanish.

Ana’s good attitude, idiosyncratic taste in music, and commitment to our students will be missed, but we wish her the best as she dedicates herself to her studies and finishes her first year of college.

(Joaquin Carbonell is the NTP Program Coordinator.)


Q & A with Summer Intern Karisa Booth

(We are recognizing FLOC’s interns this summer by publishing blog posts about their experiences. Karisa Booth was the Lead Site Coordinator for the Summer Reading Program.)

Q: Where are you from?

A: Riverside, California

Q: What did you study in school?

A: I just graduated from The George Washington University with a degree in International Development and Geography.

Q: How did you hear about FLOC?

A: The Office of Community Service at GW. I started tutoring in October of 2010 in reading and math. I tutored at four different school sites. I was then asked to apply to be a Summer VISTA, and then they hired me after an interview.

Q: How do you think being a tutor helped prepare you for the internship?

A: I knew a lot about the organization and had hands-on experience. Through tutoring, you learn a lot.

Q: What is your favorite memory from the summer?

A: Watching relationships between tutors and kids grow, and seeing how much it means to the tutors. As a coordinator, I get to watch it every day.

Q: What attracted you to FLOC?

A: I wanted to work with kids, and I liked FLOC’s mission. A few teachers really helped me through school, so it’s nice to give back in that sense.

Q: What are your plans?

A: I’m looking for a full-time job, and maybe get a masters degree in a few years in international development.