My Acronym for Saturday Morning

Hannah Uncategorized Leave a Comment

My path each 9am on Saturday: make a right at SGM, pass GFS, take a turn at TCC, cross towards EVK and meet at Denny’s for AATP. USC has a way with acronyms, but I’m going to focus on that last one.
The Asian American Tutorial Project (AATP) is a student run organization between USC, UCLA and Occidental in which students serve as tutors and mentors for under-privileged children in the LA community. Every Saturday morning (from 9am-1pm), we car pool to Castelar Elementary in Chinatown where children ages 6-10 aspire to learn and one day pursue a higher education.
Having lived in Shanghai, I used to tutor English to migrant students. I loved devoting my time to helping a nine year old learn another language so that she could have a better future. But moving back to NJ, I was no longer able to find such an organization—until I came to USC.
Visiting Castelar each weekend, I look forward to meeting a tutee and helping her or him with identifying abbreviations or simply trying to decipher basic English. We spend the first part of the visit completing the worksheets and then the second half playing. Coming up with clear explanations, sometimes having to speak in Chinese to translate the directions, is occasionally challenging; but, seeing that eureka moment in the tutee’s eyes just as she’s about to give up is worth the commitment. It’s amazing seeing how much will the kids have in trying to learn. Working with them reminds me of my own culture and Chinese/Mongolian background; it provides me the opportunity to practice and make use of my language.
In addition, at the end of each quarter we take the tutees on a trip so that they are exposed to places outside Chinatown (since many of their parents can’t afford to take them out). In the past, we’ve visited the Aquarium, the beach and the Columbia Memorial Space Center. It’s not only fun for the kids but for us too! I’ve become very attached to the tutees and have also made a lot of good friends with the other tutors.
I love sleeping in, but if given the choice to tutor for AATP—I’d wake up at 9am every time.

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