Tom Arata is a tutoring all-star! Such a bright and caring beacon in the after-school universe that we couldn’t believe he had not yet been named VOTM (or, as we thought more about it, VoTOM!). Tom has been tutoring with our program in Ypsilanti since mid-academic year 2018, when he heard about the opportunity from his coworker, former LST intern extraordinaire Kim Hawkins! Tom makes the long drive from Waterford to tutor in Ypsilanti on a regular basis, and has jumped into homework help in all subjects with incredible vigor, typically going above and beyond to get to know our students and learn about what interests them and the projects they are working on. Case in point: after his first few sessions of tutoring, he tracked down and re-read algebra textbooks at his home to refresh his memory and make sure he’d be comfortable working with students on any aspect of their math homework.
In addition to working with students, Tom has supported our organization in multiple ways, attending our OMNIBUS release party to cheer on our student readers. He’s also been a supportive participant in volunteer and staff celebrations and our back-to-school and back-to-tutoring tutor refresh sessions at the beginning of all semesters.
Like so many of our incredible volunteers, Tom’s work has a lasting impact on the students he supports at Ypsilanti tutoring. Just read what Madeeha has to say about him:
“I was actually one of his first mentees that he worked with, and I’ve worked with him on essays for government. He had a way of explaining everything—breaking things down for me. He was humorous and he was also fun–he made the most boring subject exciting. We bonded at tutoring and he is like a friend. He helped me look at teachers in a more positive perspective.”
–Madeeha Khan, 826michigan student since 2013 and first-ever 826michigan High School Programs Intern
Is there anything more we can add? We absolutely could, but feel like Madeeha has that perfect finishing touch. (In case you see Tom though, be sure to ask him about his home decor tips. Those are pretty outstanding, too.)
We are so grateful for all that Tom adds to the 826michigan community, especially our Ypsilanti Tutoring Program. Thank you, Tom! We celebrate you as our Volunteer of the Month!