Tutors Make a Difference in One Hour

One of our oldest and most successful programs on campus involves local high school and college students tutoring our residents. In 1978 former Educational Therapist Mary Lois Nevins visited Hillsides children with a small group of Polytechnic School 11th and 12th graders. Since then, the tutor mentor program now has 55 tutors representing Polytechnic School, Mayfield, Westridge, South Pasadena High and Biola University.
These exceptional young people volunteer one or two evenings a week to work with 35 children, some of whom receive services from as many as four tutors. Focusing intensively on reading and math skills, the program goal for this year is an ambitious one – raising reading and math scores by an average 10%. Tutors also help out with test preparation, reports, special school projects, and the development of study and computer skills.
Ian Lee, Hillsides tutor coordinator, carefully recruits, screens and matches tutors with students. The match-ups have been highly successful this year – all tutors returned following the holiday break, and almost all children referred for tutoring have stayed with the program.
Anyone who has ever tutored children who struggle academically knows how difficult it can be assisting students who, in spite of their native intelligence and potential, are lacking the fundamentals, behind in everything, accustomed to low expectations and school failure. In addition, their own perception of themselves is undermined by self-blame and hopelessness regarding their education. Through their creativity and dedication, our tutors make a real difference, not only in terms of academic performance, but in other areas of the children’s lives as well.
As these relationships grow, our kids benefit from the friendship, mentoring and role-modeling provided by tutors, resulting in improved confidence and self-esteem. Hillsides’ tutoring program represents the best of what community partnerships have to offer children in care. I’d like to extend many thanks to those individuals who have been tutors, mentors or volunteers in the lives of vulnerable children. Should you be inspired to spend an hour a week or volunteer throughout the year, I encourage you to take a look at our volunteer opportunities.
If time is short and you’d like to send a special tribute to someone in honor of their volunteer work, feel free to contact our development department at (323) 255-9005. Donations in honor of someone are a great way to recognize they make a difference while you also impact a child’s life.

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