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HWC News

HWC Welcomes Javier Ruiz as new Board of Director

We are pleased to welcome Javier Ruiz as our newest Board of Director.  

Javier Ruiz was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala until he moved to the U.S. for college with the help of a scholarship from the Walton International Scholarship Program.  Javier and his wife later moved to California in 2012 after spending four years in Monterrey, Mexico.  

Javier holds a M.Sc. degree in Automation and is an electrical engineer.  He currently works as a control and automation software consultant and helps technology companies accelerate their R&D and get their products to market.

In addition to his professional work, Javier is passionate about education, especially when it comes to technology.  In Javier’s words, “I believe education has made a tremendous difference in my life and professional career.  As a native from Guatemala, I am deeply inspired by Homework Central’s work in the mostly Hispanic community in San Mateo.  I believe that if we provide the tools and skills to these children, they will be able to come up with innovative and new solutions to solve many of the problems in the community.” Javier hopes to help the board expand the science and engineering programs offered to the community.

In his spare time, Javier is an avid yoga practitioner.

HWC Adds New Colleague - Natashia Lopez-Gomez

We are pleased to welcome a talented colleague to our Homework Central team.

Natashia Lopez-Gomez joined Homework Central this week as our new Volunteer Coordinator.  Natashia teaches Chicano/Latino Studies, Social Justice Poetry, and Documentary Film courses at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA.  She completed her graduate work at Harvard University in 1994, earning her M.Ed. in Risk and Prevention Education. She obtained her B.A. in Chicano Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992. She is the first in her family to graduate from college.

Natashia was raised in Portland, Oregon.  Her mother, a single parent and an immigrant from Mexico, was a political activist.  Natashia has fond memories of attending demonstrations, potlucks, and conferences where she learned from organizations such as the ACLU, the Tenants Union, and The American Friends Service Committee.   Hearing keynote addresses from people such as Noam Chomsky and Rigoberta Menchú, inspired Natashia’s early activism.

Today, Natashia continues to serve her community through teaching and community service. She has worked at various government and community agencies including: The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, The Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, The San Francisco Victim/Witness Assistance Program, and as a Community Health Advocate. She served on the board of Samaritan House and is a volunteer parent mentor for Community Gatepath.  She has organized Latino Leadership Conferences for NDNU students and teaches several community based learning courses.  In 2009, the Women of Color in Action Network honored Natashia as an outstanding mentor.  

HWC Adds New Colleague - Windi Hazzard


We are pleased to welcome a talented colleague to our Homework Central team.

Windi Hazzard began this week as our new Site Coordinator at San Mateo Park Elementary School. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Windi graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA degree from the Department of Linguistics.  During her undergraduate studies, Windi discovered her passion for language acquisition and teaching.  In her final year at the University of Oregon, Windi earned a certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching.  While in Eugene, Windi taught English as a Second Language at a community center before moving to Costa Rica.

Over the course of four years of living in a small rural community in Central America, Windi taught English as a Foreign Language to students ranging from kindergarten to high school.  In addition to in-class teaching, she assisted in administrative duties.  While in Costa Rica, Windi also worked with a non-profit organization that provided English classes to the community.

Currently, Windi is completing her MA at the University of San Francisco in International and Multicultural Education.

"Digital Divide" Video

Did you notice our new video? (see our Home Page) "Conquering the Digital Divide" was shown for the first time at No Homework Tonight on April 8, 2016. Here is the text of the voice over: Several years ago the Homework Central Board of Directors and our staff began talking about the digital divide that separates our low income Latino students from so many other students. What we found…and this information has been corroborated by the San Mateo Foster City School District…is that children from low income families who do not have a computer at home are often way behind in computer skills.  Computer proficiency and digital literacy are now required skills for success in school and, later, careers. How could Homework Central shorten the digital divide that separates our students form the rest of the student population?  Determined to find a way, we reached out to Oracle Corporation to help us purchase 38 Chromebook computers to be used at all of our sites. We chose Chromebooks because the school district uses the same technology and we can mirror some of what the students use at school. We also hired a Technology Coordinator who has set up an excellent program that is supervised by Site Coordinators and Paid Aids. The Chromebooks are stored so that they are fully charged and ready to use. Also, the Chromebooks have added some flexibility to each day. Our students can work towards academic achievement from the interactive apps on the Chromebooks or from the website enrichment programs. The students learn, typing, practice math and reading and gain skills in critical thinking and communication through the apps and games. The students log in and their time and activities are recorded in a digital point system. The students can redeem their points for little prizes. Technology is a critical component to our program and we are not stopping here. We intend to have roughly 100 computers and to expand the times these will be available to our students.

San Mateo Elks Lodge Gives Grant to Homework Central

Thank you San Mateo Elks Lodge for your generous donation to Homework Central. Your donation will be earmarked to pay a one year salary for Jasmine, one of our student aides. Jasmine graduated from San Mateo High School in May 2015. She now attends College of San Mateo and is in her second year of working as a student aide at Homework Central. Jasmine helps students complete their homework assignments; works on skills improvement in mathematics, reading and writing; and mentors students to learn problem solving strategies. As a bilingual speaker, Jasmine is able to communicate with parents in Spanish. She enjoys helping children and is considering a career as a teacher, social worker or maybe a pediatrician. For Jasmine, “coming to Homework Central is the highlight of each day.” We are very proud of Jasmine. Together, we are encouraging students to be life-long learners.


Founded in New York on February 16, 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a patriotic, nonpolitical, and nonsectarian organization of over 2,100 Elks Lodges throughout the U.S. The San Mateo Lodge No. 1112 was chartered in 1908 and currently has over 1,400 members. The San Mateo Lodge participates in many charitable causes which includes providing support to children and young adults, often in the area of education.

Elks of San Mateo Lodge No. 1112 enjoy many festivities throughout the year including Wednesday night dinners, monthly bingo nights, family pancake breakfasts, holiday dinner dances, ladies luncheons, Christmas parties for kids, and a very special New Year’s Eve Ball.

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