April 22nd, 2021

Working for Priority Spokane by Faith Ngae

- Emily,

My name is Faith Ngae. I am a senior at Gonzaga University majoring in Psychology and Sociology with a Minor in Solidarity and Social Justice. This academic year I have been fortunate enough to work for Priority Spokane. Working for the homework tutoring hotline has been extremely rewarding and cool. My strongest strength is organizing, and the homework hotline utilized this strength to the max, starting last December I have been connecting tutors to students, sending and creating zoom links for sessions and every now and then I have stepped in as a monitor for tutoring sessions.  Before working with Priority Spokane, I was not aware of the struggles students were experiencing in school. The need became very clear when the hotline went live in December. In the first week we got parents emailing us to inform us how grateful and thankful they were for this service and how much it is making an impact in their child’s life. In a 45-minute tutoring session tutors aren’t able to teach students everything, but the small little steps of understanding add up in the long run. When I have been a monitor, it has been cool and amazing to watch students have these aha moments. It was also cool to see students’ excitement to have a connection with someone else outside their household. The pandemic has created an environment where everyday interaction is hard which is something else, I hadn’t considered; the homework hotline was more than a tutoring service but an opportunity for students to connect and grow as students.

My work and impact were invisible for the majority of the time, I was in the background sending and responding to emails, creating zoom links and organizing tutoring sessions. Even though my work was invisible it was needed and helped the Homework Hotline run smoothly. A challenge that I faced was balancing different people’s schedules. At times, tutors and monitors would have things come up at the last minute and I had to scramble to find replacements. For monitors, I would fill in if I was available but for tutors I would pray and hope that someone was available. When the tutoring hotline started, I expected to see appointments for a variety of different subjects, but it’s been consistent that Math help is the biggest need. 90% of the appointments made were for Math in all grades from K-12.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Priority Spokane this academic year. This experience has shown me the importance of centering the community. This project was started from concerns from the community. It has been amazing to witness tutors helping students as they navigate attending school over zoom. As I move on and graduate in a couple of weeks, I will be forever grateful for this experience.

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