Fulfilling our mission during the COVID Pandemic
Sometimes a crisis brings clarity. And as Mentor Tutor Connection volunteers and staff respond with urgency and compassion to this crisis, a new clarity drives us to be relevant and effective to those who are most impacted. MTC has always been about connections and trusted relationships—between tutors and students; between mentors and mentees. It is exactly these trusted relationships that are needed now, as students struggle to keep up with schoolwork and as high schoolers fight isolation and anxiety about the future. The pre-existing relationships MTC volunteers have developed over time with young people in our community are providing critical connection, emotional support, and access to resources as we work through all of this together. The true value of connection has never been clearer.
Mentors adapt to a new (virtual) role
MTC mentors are communicating regularly with their mentees, but virtual relationships are challenging and for many mentors and their mentees, this is taking some getting used to! That is why MTC’s Mentor Program Managers (MPMs) designed and delivered a new training for mentors called: Mentoring During Shelter-In-Place. By offering four online sessions, MPMs were able to host small virtual gatherings to share tips, and to provide time for mentors to exchange ideas with each other. They reviewed the important role a mentor can play during these difficult times. For example, mentors can provide information about the pandemic, assess how their mentees are coping, give their mentees a sense of hope for the future, talk about young people’s role in the effort to support social distancing, and help their mentees stay on track with school. During the training, mentors committed to trying one new way to connect with their mentee (one mentor is now playing video games with his mentee—something completely new to him!). We thank our volunteers for adapting to this new way of mentoring!
Remote tutors get creative
MTC’s Tutor Program Managers are working with some passionate tech-savvy volunteers to deliver unique remote tutoring experiences to young students. Because MTC’s tutoring program supports school curriculum and is customized to meet the needs of classroom teachers, our remote tutoring pilot program is designed to support schoolwork. Students are not going to school, but they are still engaged in school, and MTC is there to help them navigate distance learning. One tutor is having weekly phone calls with a third grader who excitedly shares what he has read during the week. One tutor is juggling shared documents via Zoom with a middle school student struggling with math assignments. As our tutors adapt and accommodate both the technology and academic needs of students, MTC is gathering data; what works well and what doesn’t. We are looking forward to thoughtfully investigating how we might expand remote tutoring beyond this trial. Stay tuned!
Los Altos Rotary supports the MTC community
MTC is incredibly grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support from members of the Los Altos Rotary who donated 132 bags of groceries, enabling MTC mentors, board members, and staff to distribute three bags of groceries to 44 mentees and their families. MTC program managers and mentors were able to reach out and assess the needs and interests of our MTC community. The grocery delivery meant so much to our mentees and to all of us who saw the smiles and read the words of appreciation that came via texts from students. Here are two:
- “My family greatly appreciates the food and my mentor has kept in touch and been able to support me.”
- “My family loved the groceries. My baby sister is really enjoying the apple sauce that was put in there and I was able to make fettucine in a red sauce.”
As we adjust and adapt, I am indebted to Board members, mentors, tutors, and staff who are tackling challenges head on and showing up in new ways to serve the community- thank you! As an organization, we will embrace new programs that make us more adaptable, stronger, and more sustainable for years to come. I am grateful for all of that. Still, I cannot wait to see you all in person again soon!
In the meantime, take care.