It all starts with Literacy.

TutorMate volunteers and children meet face to face. Love ensues.


Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 8.10.03 PMA lot of love, a lot of caring, and a lot of thank-yous.

As the school year ends, volunteer tutors and first-graders are finally meeting face to face to celebrate their year in TutorMate, after communicating once a week by phone and computer.

And the mood is ebullient.

After seeing the great gains made by his students in academics, Chicago teacher Rich Kealey was moved to write this note to us at Innovations for Learning after the tutors from United Airlines visited his first-grade classroom at Lovett Elementary School:


I just wanted to once more say THANK YOU SO MUCH to YOU and YOUR VOLUNTEERS for ALL they did for my students this year!

The Meet & Greet was great! It was so nice of these special individuals to bring backpacks, practice writing pads, crayons and more to the celebration! But most importantly, I admire how they gave of their time week in and week out to be a blessing to my students! All of my students in the program improved academically, and all but one had double-digit+ growth on their end-of-year tests (any gains of 10 or more points is very good growth)! That growth is due in large part to the 1-1 tutoring they received from their TutorMates!! …

I would be so HONORED to be part of your program again next year if you would have me and my new students! I wish your program could be expanded to utilize dedicated volunteers from other companies in the Chicagoland area!



Rich Kealey

From Detroit came this video from a first-grade class at Bennett Elementary School. Its title: “Thank you, tutors, for being sooo awesome!”


And here’s what a tutor had to say.

Regina Jackson of AT&T in Detroit wrote to a teacher about her visit to the Ronald Brown Academy:

Dear Mrs. A,

It was truly a pleasure to meet you and your sweet students.  I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know TJ [name withheld].  She is every bit of the little sweetheart I could hear on our calls.  After seeing her, I KNOW she is just a “Late Bloomer.” just as I was.  Very kind, well behaved and a thinker!  I can see she already knows who she wants to be when she grows up.  She will be fine! I notice she has a soft heart by the stories she chose to read during our sessions.  She always chose the stories that were colorful and looked like something exciting was happening and most of them had to do with little girls….

You will be pleased to know that during our time together, [the students] were polite, excited to participate, took turns speaking and helping each other …  We had one of the hardest games to play, Word Search and each student completed the task with 10 of 10.  We accomplished that goal as a team.  If someone found a word that we didn’t have, they took turns giving us directions on how to locate the word by counting letters down, across and/or diagonal.

As a result, we all were winners!

It was an amazing day and I returned to work motivated and excited to be a part of the program.  I have TJ’s picture and drawing on my desk.  I am getting a lot of attention and excitement along with interest about the program…

You have done a marvelous job with your class…. I know a motivated teacher when I see one (I raised two college graduates as a single Mom and it starts in the primary years).  It’s a tuff job but “Thank God” for his placement of the right people to help teach our future professionals.  You can calm the sea with that pleasant smile of yours.


Regina R. Jackson

TutorMate Tutor

Thanks to all who took part in a great year of teaching and learning!


 Photo: Bennett Elementary in Detroit


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