It is easy to see why FLOC students and staff members like Emma Turnbull. The 19-year-old work-study tutor was bright-eyed and cheery when we met for our interview; some would say especially so, given the fact that she had just spent her whole Saturday tutoring in our math and reading programs.
Originally from Seattle, Washington, Emma moved to DC last year to become a pre-med student at The George Washington University. She began tutoring at FLOC when she was a freshman because it was really important to her not to have a “typical” work-study job. Instead, she wanted to give back to her community and work with kids, and when she found out that FLOC’s schedule worked well with hers, she knew it was a great fit.
This year, Emma is a tutor in three of our programs: Thursday Night Math, Saturday Morning Math, and Saturday Afternoon Reading. When I met her, she was with her Saturday Afternoon Reading student, Fabiola. Later Emma told me, “I work with Fabiola on her reading – we call her Fab. She has one of the best attitudes I have ever seen in a student and she’s always willing to give 110%.” This was evident when I went to take a picture of the two of them and Fabiola hardly looked up from the book she was reading out loud.
Emma enjoys getting creative with her lesson plans and games, especially when she finds a game that “really clicks” with one of her students. For example, she says that the student she tutors on Thursdays is very active, so they play “Red Light, Green Light” with flashcards so she can run around. Her Saturday morning student, on the other hand, is quite artistic and loves to draw, so Emma always tries to incorporate drawing into his lesson plans.
In her free time, Emma likes to get out of what she calls the “Foggy Bottom bubble” and explore other places in DC. She sees FLOC’s location in Adams Morgan as a positive, because it encourages her to discover a new area. In fact, as we wrapped up the interview she informed me that she was going with a couple of friends to try out a cupcake place just a few blocks away. To me, a cupcake seemed like a well-deserved end to Emma’s day. We are extremely lucky to have such a committed, imaginative and enthusiastic tutor in our organization.
(Rachel Baxter is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Assistant at FLOC).