Anika's Tutoring Volunteer Experience - LifeMoves Skip to main content

Anika, a high school student and one of our amazing volunteers, recently helped tutor children at the LifeMoves Motel Voucher Program. Below is an article she wrote about her experience.

The hushed hallways of the motel, a stark contrast to the lively passageways of my high school, seemed to hold different stories within their silence. The day I first set foot in the motel, one of many participating in the voucher program for the homeless, I was braced for encounters with children who resembled the skewed images portrayed by the media. Instead, I met vibrant young souls — real-life warriors armed with determination and an infectious zeal for learning. My tutoring sessions at the shelter have since opened my eyes, and I am eager to share these experiences to shed light on the strength and potential that persist amidst adversity.

This motel voucher program, a mere stopgap for families swept into the storm of homelessness, offers a roof but not a home. For the children in its care, it’s a holding pattern, a world hovering between a semblance of routine and the raw edge of uncertainty. Unlike the comfort of a permanent bedroom, their motel confines lack the familiar touchstones of a settled life. Yet, in their conversations, they focus not on their lack but on what they have — friendships and small treasures found along the way. Their resilience resonates louder than the silence of their transient spaces.

As I embarked on my journey as a tutor, the stereotypes crumbled. Far from the clichés painted in broad strokes, these kids displayed a boundless capacity for wonder and a tenacity for their dreams. They exhibited an eagerness to learn, a readiness to grasp concepts of math and reading that I know will pave their way to a brighter future.

The educational gap I witnessed was profound. In an area where some students are navigating geometry by middle school, others mere miles away struggle with basic arithmetic in high school. This silent educational emergency flies in the face of what our community represents — wealth, progress, and opportunity. The stark reality that education — intended as a leveler — has turned into a selective privilege is a call to action.

The heart of my advocacy beats for change and understanding. The children I’ve met have taught me that a stable home is not the measure of one’s identity. They are defined not by their lack but by their dreams and capabilities. By closing the educational gap, we can catalyze transformation not only in individual lives but throughout our community. We have the power to elevate everyone by ensuring equal access to education.

Echoing my father’s wisdom, “Education is the most valuable gift anyone can receive,” I consider myself lucky to have been given this gift and am thrilled to pass it on. Working with these spirited children at LifeMoves, I hope that together with my community we can nurture their curiosity and love for learning. Together, we can bolster this vital program with the resources and dedication it deserves, uplifting these children and, in turn, enriching ourselves

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