Category Archives: Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Kevin

Kevin Mayer-edited

Kevin is a Thursday night math tutor, who has been volunteering at FLOC ever since he moved here from the Midwest a few years ago. During the week, he is an engineer at a company that designs solar panels, but he always had an interest in tutoring. One day, Kevin came across FLOC in the comments section of a Reddit article on volunteering in DC, and the rest is history!

For Kevin, tutoring is a nice change from his day job; he enjoys hanging out with the kids, and being able to give back to the community by volunteering. One of his favorite FLOC memories is from summer tutoring a couple of years ago: Kevin wished his student luck at her upcoming track meet, and she melted his heart by responding, “Good luck at your job! I know you’ll do well because you’re so smart!”

Tutoring at FLOC has helped Kevin to grow both personally and professionally.  Professionally, he feels as though he is better able to explain complicated concepts to others outside of the engineering sphere. Personally, Kevin said that he has enjoying gaining a better perspective about his community and a greater appreciation for his own education.

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

Meet Brenna

BrennaBrenna began tutoring math at FLOC this past fall, after coming across the opportunity in a volunteering newsletter at Deloitte, where she works, and hearing her coworkers’ wonderful stories. Having worked with children in the past, Brenna was excited to work with today’s students and reengage in education, while also giving back to her community.

While she has tutored several different students over the course of the school year, Brenna said she enjoys finding things in common and bonding with her students. “The first student I tutored, Emmanuel, has the same favorite cartoons and television shows as I do,” she said. “I enjoy being able to connect with kids where they are; it reminds me to laugh a little and not to take myself so seriously all the time.”

Brenna is looking forward to volunteering with FLOC in future years as well. Because of her interest in higher education, she hopes to become a postsecondary coach and work with an individual student as he or she prepares for college.

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

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.)

Meet Jessica, a Postsecondary Coach

JessicaKaushalJessica Kaushal currently serves as a postsecondary coach in the Scholars program where she is matched with a twelfth grade scholar to provide support on his journey towards a postsecondary education. Jessica joined FLOC last year, after a big move and change in industry encouraged her to give back to the community in a more direct way.

Jessica is no stranger to FLOC, though; this past summer she served as a math tutor to an energetic fifth grader in the Neighborhood Tutoring Program. While she loved NTP, Jessica decided to return as a postsecondary coach because she’s excited about providing the support she lacked to a high-school senior. “[Applying to college] is a complicated process,” said Jessica. “Going from a large public high school to a small private university, where it seemed like everyone already knew how to write a long paper, was a huge jump.”

This year, Jessica works with a student named Nicholas, who is interested in pursuing a liberal arts education, just as she did. Nicholas emigrated from Taiwan at a very young age, but after growing up in the city, he’s excited at the prospect of going to school elsewhere. He hopes to pick up some “non-euro-centric” history in college, and perhaps pursue his interest in behavior economics.

When asked why she originally chose to volunteer with FLOC, Jessica said that she appreciates the long-term relationship FLOC has with many of its students. Volunteering at FLOC has also given Jessica a more holistic perspective about the time and resources it takes to educate a child, which has influenced her mindset within the world of public policy.

We’re thrilled to have Jessica back for another exciting year at FLOC!

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

Meet Alexander and Aleas

This past summer, FLOC and the Neighborhood Tutoring Program were pleased to welcome the mother / son team of Aleas and Alexander Hammett to serve in the Summer Math Academy. The Hammetts first heard about FLOC through an email Alexander received from Bishop McNamara High School, where he attends high school.

hammetts

Alexander chose to tutor at FLOC this summer to obtain community service hours for school and because he enjoys helping his classmates understand the work they do at school. He thought helping someone younger might be fun. Aleas was motivated to volunteer at FLOC because of her desire to serve and be an advocate for education. She enjoys spending time with her sons and thought tutoring would be a great opportunity to achieve that goal and share in the experience.

Aleas had the honor of tutoring a high school student named Dwayne. According to Aleas, “Dwayne is an awesome young man.” He shared a wealth of knowledge about track, anime, and video games and was incredibly committed to improving his own math skills. Dwayne and Aleas worked on unit 2 with a focus on math facts. Aleas’ favorite moment with Dwayne was when he was engaged and ready to learn at one particular session, when they played a version of hangman using math problems.

Alexander worked this summer with an elementary student named Elizabeth. Alexander and Elizabeth focused a lot on addition and subtraction with numbers 0-20 throughout the summer program. Elizabeth is energetic and smart. Because she sometimes had difficulty focusing, Alexander felt particularly great when she found ways to concentrate and accomplish her tutoring weekly goals. Towards the end of the summer program, Alexander was most excited when he saw Elizabeth finally start to understand the math concepts.

Aleas says one of the best experiences for her this summer was “seeing my son display patience, commitment and desire to assist his student. He truly wanted to make a difference and help her enhance her math skills.”

Thanks for your service this summer and your support of our students, Alexander, Aleas, and the whole Hammett family!

Meet Miriam

miriam bishop pictureMiriam Bishop serves as a tutor with the FLOC Neighborhood Tutoring Program. In this role, she tutors a student named Alex on Tuesday evenings in reading. She has been a tutor at FLOC since March of 2011. Miriam loves the documented success rates and hearing what a difference FLOC has made in students’ lives.

Miriam is an attorney with Willkie Farr & Gallagher (WF&G). FLOC has been a principal grantee of the WF&G Foundation for many years. Miriam first heard about FLOC through the WF&G Foundation newsletter that is circulated within the firm. Miriam went to the FLOC annual fund-raising luncheon that year and was very impressed by the presentation and the work that FLOC does. After attending the luncheon, she began to explore ways to volunteer.

This year Miriam worked with a 4th grade student named Alex. Alex is very intelligent, very active, and very energetic. Alex brings a lot of enthusiasm with him to tutoring, though he sometimes has difficulty staying focused and on task. Miriam works on several things with Alex, including vocabulary, reading and sight words.

Miriam loves to see that children are really learning. She particularly enjoys that look of happiness that comes over their faces when they suddenly “get” a new idea or concept.

Miriam has participated in various FLOC activities held at WF&G’s offices. She has also been to graduation parties and the Outdoor Education Center. In addition to her work as an attorney and her time at FLOC, Miriam is an avid garden. She had flower gardens, vegetable gardens, fruit trees and bushes, and indoor plants, such as orchids, Christmas cacti, and ferns.

Thanks, Miriam, for your years of service to For Love of Children!

(Vanessa Hanible is the Recruitment and Outreach Associate.)

WNDC’s Dynamic Duo

Jasmin and her tutor Ashley Oakes have been breaking records in our WNDC testing room this year!

WNDC Pair

Jasmin is a student in our WNDC – Tuesday night reading program and in the Scholars program. She has passed many tests in the Wilson curriculum and has added new words to her vocabulary such as frolic, compliance, occurrence, and more.

Jasmin began this year in Unit 2, Lesson 1 in the Wilson curriculum and will end at the beginning of Unit 4, Lesson 1. She has shown a lot of dedication to improving her reading skills and works very well with her tutor. This is Jasmin’s fourth year with FLOC, and she says it has been the best one yet.

Ashley has also enjoyed her time at FLOC and credits a former colleague for recommending the program to her. As the oldest sibling from a large family, Ashley often draws from experiences of tutoring/mentoring her siblings while working with Jasmin. They both are excited to return to FLOC next year and continue to work together!

(Felise Ortiz is a site coordinator for the Neighborhood Tutoring Program, including in the Tuesday night program at the Woman’s National Democratic Club.)