Silly and playful, but still learning

Veteran After-School Tutoring volunteers may have noticed some new faces among your ranks over the past few weeks! We’re thrilled to announce that we have recently re-launched 826 Valencia’s Youth Leadership and Advisory Board (YLAB), with ten middle school students from AST. Over the course of the semester, these students will help their younger peers with homework and writing, plan the release party for the publication of Look Closer/Mira de cerca, and develop leadership skills related to their role as tutors.

What does it take to be a great tutor? In preparation for their new responsibilities, we asked the YLAB students to imagine working with a volunteer they admire and to name some of the qualities those tutors exhibit. Their responses demonstrated that they’ve picked up some valuable insights into effective tutoring strategies during their time as AST students:

  • They offer choices such as, “You can choose to not do your work, but you cannot distract others from doing their work.”
  • They show enthusiasm for the subject.
  • They share a little bit of their lives with you, have a conversation about their day, and ask me about how I’m doing.

While the students are certainly busy learning about leadership and reflecting on their experience assisting with homework help or the Writing Table, it’s not all business all the time, and there’s still time for fun and creativity! As part of an ice breaker, we asked students to go into the Pirate Store, choose the object that they believe best represents YLAB, and explain why.

8th grader Jessica Berrios selected a globe keychain, explaining that, “To me, YLAB is like our own small, safe, little world where we get to talk about what we like in the organization, learn to become role models, and get to know other students better. It’s a world in the larger 826 world.” 7th grader Calvin Tan chose sand, because “we’re like tiny grains of sand—small parts that make up one big thing.” And 6th grader Joshua Diaz, who picked up a cup-and-ball game, perhaps summed up the YLAB and 826 Valencia approach best: “YLAB is fun. We’re silly and playful, but we’re still learning.”

We are proud to welcome the following students to the Youth Leadership and Advisory Board and are excited to see how they learn and grow over the course of the semester!

Jessica Barrios
Natalia Gonzalez
Calvin Tan
Joshua Diaz
Chelsea Rodriguez
Benson Mai
Ronaldo Rodriguez
Jonathan Ramirez
Gabby Claros
Vanessa Perez