Volunteer Spotlight

Fall 2011


Kayse Recker: Lena Washington on Monday

When did you first begin tutoring with Chicago HOPES?

This is my first year with Chicago HOPES. I started tutoring at Lena Washington at the beginning of October. {And I love it.}

What made you want to get involved with HOPES?

I'm a current school psychology graduate student at Loyola. I'm taking a social justice class that asks us to get involved with a local agency or community group. At the start of the school year, a number of representatives from local groups came to Loyola to talk about their missions. Most represented tutoring programs that work with the at-risk students of Chicago. They're all excellent programs, but Chicago HOPES stood out. I've never worked with homeless students, so I was excited to join this particular organization.

How has your experience been so far?

My time with Chicago HOPES has been short but still so rewarding. The state of these students' lives can be shocking. Just a few minutes spent in their neighborhood provides a sliver of insight into their daily interactions and struggles. When they step into the tutoring room, though, they're kids - just like any other students I've worked with in the past. This experience is definitely challenging assumptions I brought to the program and is opening my eyes to an entirely different set of learners.

What have you found as your greatest strength as a tutor?

Prior to my time at Loyola, I was a teacher in inner-city Atlanta. I'm thankful for the ability to call on my past experiences with students and the many times I had to teach {and entertain!} students on the fly.

What keeps you coming back each week?

Their lovely faces. :) I've been away from the classroom for awhile, so I love to watch the students trickle into the tutoring room. They're happy to be there, and it's rewarding to help them find joy in their learning - if even for just an hour.

Fun Fact about yourself:

I'm really nerdy. I love school. I love learning. I love organizing and budgeting and planning - all of those things that make most people cringe.