As the world changed overnight, Reality Changers responded quickly, moving all programs and student support to virtual platforms. In the middle of this, volunteers stepped up, filling in and adding additional help where staff capacity reached its max. Through online tutoring and accountability partnerships volunteers continue to support Reality Changers’ students.
Online tutoring kicked off the week of April 6th. Volunteers showed up to virtual programming to connect with students and engage the various topics covered–academic readiness, college knowledge, and leadership skills. After the lesson and a short break, students paired with subject-specific tutors signed on to work through assignments together via Zoom. Chemistry, Algebra 1, Physics, and essay topics turned into collaborative assignments through Google Docs and screen sharing. Through resilience and innovation, students and volunteers found new ways to connect, push on toward their goals, and see possibility in the midst of a multitude of limitations.
Going above and beyond even this, volunteers who have tutored with us this year have turned into academic mentors and accountability partners. As staff find their capacity filling up a little more quickly these days, we recognize the power in turning to our community to fill in where we cannot. Tutors call students a few times a week in addition to tutoring to provide support as students learn to navigate a new environment. In 1-1 check-ins, volunteers ask questions about what students’ top goals are for the week, where their motivation lies, and what they are doing to take time for self-care–ensuring students know that someone has their back, and although it may look a bit different, their support system remains constant.
Finding the spaces for consistency, connection, and some semblance of normalcy in the midst of great change lets the contagious energy of hope and joy find their way into our lives. Virtual connection cannot substitute for in-person connection, and can even feel draining at times. Today, however, all of us at Reality Changers find gratitude for the ability to continue gathering, learning, and growing with the help of technology and our amazing volunteers. Online programming, tutoring, and student check-ins would not be the same without volunteers stepping up and stepping in as tutors, accountability partners, and friends. Their consistency and connection energizes staff and students alike. Thank you!