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Our Tutors are Making Tens!

April 23, 2020

Heart Math Tutoring was incorporated 7 years ago, and 3 years prior to that, volunteers and partners began piloting the program. It doesn’t require counting on your fingers to know that this means a special group of tutors have hit their 10th YEAR OF VOLUNTEERING!! With deep appreciation, our team is honored to thank these six tutors for the impact they have had on more than 120 students. Read the highlights and memories from Minna Elliott, Martha Eubank, Catherine Fischer, Reid Leggett, Margaret Marshall, and Lisa Warren below.

Minna Elliott

Minna led the group of founding volunteers from Social Venture Partners. In addition to her work as a tutor, she gave blood, sweat, and tears to organize the program for everyone else before Heart Tutoring had any paid staff! We asked Minna for highlights of her time tutoring. She says the students have all been great; recently she has been tutoring twice per week, making her the tutor of 4-6 students per year! She said her favorite part is seeing the OTHER tutors around her! “I love hearing everyone tutoring around me – listening to how good of a job they do and feeling grateful that they are here. Everyone’s personality is so different, and it is neat to see how there are so many ways to be a good tutor.”

“Minna has the remarkable ability to be both a calming, peaceful presence for a student while also inspiring and energizing them to do their best work. Her dedication to students is unmatched.” – Padgett Vaughn, Senior Program Manager

“Minna is a dedicated tutor and impactful mentor to the students she works with. Her passion for Heart’s mission, commitment to the Westerly Hills community, and enthusiasm for helping her students is unparalleled. Minna is an expert at keeping her students engaged and excited about the program (even if it means she has to lose a few games!), and it was always a joy to see the smiles on her students’ faces as they showed off their knowledge of combinations, or excitedly told her about playing their math games at home over winter break. I was truly lucky to get to work with her at Westerly Hills this year, I cannot thank her enough for all that she does for Heart, and for the amazing kids that she has impacted over the last 10 years!” –Daisha Delano, Program Coordinator at Barringer Academic Center and Westerly Hills Academy

Martha Eubank

Martha was a member of the original Social Venture Partners Steering Committee of volunteers that organized Heart Tutoring during the pilot years. She has recruited many friends to be her partner tutors over the years, including her husband Eric, who joined Heart’s Board of Directors shortly thereafter!

“Martha is a dedicated tutor who shows up every week, while balancing schedules with her partner tutor to make sure their students are seen twice a week.  She is dedicated to teaching her students math and, as a math major herself, truly understands if her student comprehends a concept or is using memorization.  She really wants her students to succeed and get as much as possible out of their time together.  Martha does not hesitate to question the concepts in the curriculum to better understand and explain.  She even offered a shoulder to cry on (literally) after a bit of playground “drama” involving one of her students last school year!  Love having Martha at Montclaire!” –Debbie Marshall, Program Coordinator at Montclaire Elementary

“I remember watching Martha and Eric making their students feel very special when they talked up the upcoming family breakfast at Winterfield in an early year, encouraging their students to attend and bring their parents so that ‘we can all meet each other.’ Martha also introduced the Heart students to her own children when they visited tutoring sessions while home from college. One year, Martha requested some extra ten frames to give to her students so they could “play Heart tutoring at home”! Martha pays it forward with the supplies; she is Heart Tutoring’s direct source for hundreds of decks of playing cards recycled from the Charlotte Bridge Association each year!!!” – Emily Gaffney, Executive Director

Catherine Fischer

Catherine was also part of the group of founding volunteers from Social Venture Partners. In addition to tutoring, Catherine dove headfirst into organizing the program for others before Heart Tutoring had any paid staff! She laughed remembering that despite proofreading every single page of the curriculum in the early years, she was still nervous when she got “bumped up” to work with “older” students after her main experience was with the younger ones. (It was a nonissue, of course!) Few memories will stay as ingrained as the many summers when her basement was converted into a Heart Tutoring curriculum materials assembly line for the whole summer. To this day, the Connecting Cubes still take a tumble in Catherine’s washing machine each summer!

“Caring, Compassionate, Loving, and Student Focused to each of her students.  These are the words that come to mind when Catherine Fischer’s name is mentioned. I had the honor and privilege of working with Catherine this year at Piney Grove. Catherine is always willing to do what is needed to help her students become successful, whether it is building math skills or building confidence.  I enjoy seeing the faces of Catherine and her students during tutoring sessions because they share a time of fun, laughing and learning. Catherine, thank you for your dedication to our students at Piney Grove and to Heart Math Tutoring.  Heart is successful because of volunteers like you.” – Mike Parman, Program Coordinator at Piney Grove Elementary

“Catherine had an adorable student who was stuck in More or Less for a long time. That can be frustrating for some tutors, but not for Catherine. She just wanted to see him be successful. Of course, she knows our curriculum well and is somewhat of a pro, but it was really through her patience and encouragement that her student made it through More or Less. Catherine worked with him again the next year and saw him move through two more notebooks!” – Linda Vanderbosch, former Program Coordinator at Piney Grove Elementary

Reid Leggett

Reid was also part of the founding group of Steering Committee volunteers from Social Venture Partners who planned and organized the program before Heart Tutoring had paid staff. Importantly, he recruited his wife Anne to be Heart’s founding board chair in 2013. We count on Reid’s creativity and strategic thinking to this day. He says a memorable year of tutoring was being Anne’s partner tutor in an early year at Allenbrook. They shared two fourth grade girls who met him in the hallway one day and said, “Mr. Leggett, tutoring is very important to us. You are late today, and we need you to be on time!”

“Reid is a dedicated volunteer who makes sure he is there for his students week in and week out.  There are many weeks I had the pleasure of seeing Reid twice so he could ensure his students each received their full hour of tutoring that week no matter what holiday or schedule change was happening.  Reid maximizes every minute of time he has with his students.  He ensures his students always have a thorough understanding of the material and is quick to find alternative ways to explain a concept in an understandable way if a student needs extra support.  He is a true mentor for his students, holding high expectations for his students and supporting them every step along the way in reaching the goals they set in Heart.  It is apparent Reid’s students cherish the relationship they have built with him, just as we cherish Reid at Heart.  Such a huge advocate and supporter of the program, he is a difference-maker in students’ lives every week and I hope he knows how much we appreciate him!” -Emily Aleski, Program Manager and Coordinator at Myers Park Traditional School

“Every time I bump into Reid anywhere in Charlotte, I can count on a positive report of his Heart students and their recent conversations. It was fun to watch Reid’s fifth-grade students learn his dry sense of humor when I was his Program Coordinator. Reid has also been known to invent elaborate sticker agreements where students work towards a positive note to the teacher. He knows how to make tutoring a special and memorable experience for the kids.” – Emily Gaffney, Executive Director

Margaret Marshall 

Margaret jumped in as a volunteer through her involvement with Social Venture Partners and has been an energetic advocate and strong tutor ever since. Margaret wrote the nomination for one of Heart’s first external grants in 2013/14 – a witty, race-car themed endorsement to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation – and she brought her enthusiasm and creativity to a radio interview to recruit more volunteers the next year. We are especially honored and grateful that Margaret has continued her commitment to Heart students even after taking on responsibility for 145,000 students across our district as an elected member of the CMS Board of Education starting in 2017.

“Margaret is a great tutor! She is very committed to her students. The boys are always excited to see her. Margaret always makes a point to reschedule if there is a school conflict. She doesn’t want her boys to miss out on tutoring! Margaret is also very helpful to our tutors. I enjoy working with her!” – Karen Devine, Program Coordinator at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary

“Margaret is always juggling multiple balls at once, but is committed to her hour of volunteering with Heart.  She rushes into Montclaire and greets the many teachers and staff that know her from her position on the Charlotte Mecklenburg School board. She stays intense and focused on the task at hand to ensure that her students get quality time with her and then she’s off to the next meeting.  She is a busy lady, devoted to helping students in CMS. Loved having her at Montclaire during the 2018-19 school year!” – Debbie Marshall, Program Coordinator at Montclaire Elementary

Lisa Warren

Lisa was a friend of the founders and became a Heart Tutor after receiving an email 10 years ago asking for volunteer tutors. Over the years, she has been at many different schools and even tutored siblings within one family at Winterfield! She says one of her favorite things is seeing the program evolve. “It went from very organized, to even more organized!” She tries creative strategies to bring out students’ best, most recently using all possible football analogies for her student at Cotswold. Lisa recruited her husband Dean, her son Jordan, and several colleagues at Cottingham Chalk Realtors to be tutors, multiplying her impact along the way.

“Lisa is a wonderful tutor.  She is so loving and patient, but knows exactly how to push to get the best from her students.  It has been a joy to work with her this year.” – Lauren Hillesheim, Program Coordinator at Cotswold Elementary

“Lisa is a very dedicated, thoughtful tutor who is always looking for additional ways to support Heart.” – Lan Nyugen, former Program Manager

“Lisa is positive, consistent, and energetic, and her steady involvement has been a staple of credibility and impact for the organization.” – Emily Gaffney, Executive Director

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