January’s Tutor Highlight Jillian Thorbahn talks about working on the Santa Clara County Library Program

What program(s) did you work on?:
Santa Clara County Library Tutoring Program

How did you get involved with BATA?
I got involved with BATA through my SJSU course that required practicum hours.

How long have you been a volunteer with BATA?
I have been a volunteer with BATA for 2 months.

Tell us about a time that was especially meaningful for you as a volunteer at BATA?:
One moment that is especially meaningful to me volunteering at BATA is watching students finally comprehend a topic they were struggling with. I had a student struggling with long division and we were working on this topic for two weeks. One day they came in with their math homework again. We worked on the first problem together and then I had the student complete the second problem by themself. When I came back to check on them, they completed the entire problem by themself and got the answer right. Watching their face light up once they realized they answered the problem correctly was so meaningful to me. I got to watch this student finally understand a subject they were struggling with for so long.

How have the students responded to you?
The students have responded positively to me. Many of the students are recurring so I have developed meaningful relationships with all the students that come in. This relationship helps them feel comfortable asking for help, which helps with their academic progress.

What subject(s) are you passionate about?
I am passionate about elementary subjects, specifically mathematics.

What do you enjoy most about tutoring?
I enjoy connecting one-on-one with the students. I enjoy watching students finally understand a concept they were having trouble with and the feeling of accomplishment and pride they have.

Why is it important to tutor students?
It is important to tutor students because some students need more one-on-one help outside of the classroom. Also, young students need to comprehend the early subjects in order to have a successful educational path as they go into middle and high school.

How has working with BATA had an impact on you?
Working with BATA has shown me how important community organizations are to the people they serve. Education services can have such a positive impact on students and I have witnessed this firsthand through working with BATA.

What has been the biggest surprise about volunteering at BATA?
The biggest surprise about volunteering at BATA is how any help for students can make such a huge difference in their life. I volunteer 3 hours a week and the huge impact 3 hours has on a student is so inspiring.

Any words of encouragement for potential volunteers:
I would say don’t stress too much about not doing enough for the students. Simply just showing up consistently for the students makes such an impact on their lives and helps them more than you know. Developing a relationship with the students is just as important as students understanding their homework and the subjects they are struggling with.