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HWC News

HWC Announce Sad News of Jill Wagner

It is with heavy hearts that we write to inform you that Jill Wagner, our Site Coordinator at UUSM for over 16 years passed away on April 11.  Jill brought joy, a big smile, her zest for life and more than occasional bursts of craziness to our students, parents/extended families, student aides, tutors and other volunteers.  Along with our wonderful staff and board, Jill’s presence will be deeply missed by all.  Please know that Jill has impacted so many people, especially children with her firm belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person. A commemoration of Jill’s life will be held on June 24, 2017 at the Transfiguration Church in San Mateo.  Please visit  www.bit.ly/jillmemorial for further details.

HWC Announces New Advisory Board Member

Homework Central is pleased to announce that Alexandra Christ has joined its Advisory Board.

Alexandra was inspired to found Peace Joy Soccer in 2016, a nonprofit that in late 2016 distributed soccer balls to Syrian refugee children at camps, orphanages and schools in Greece.  Alexandra moved into action by raising the necessary funding, purchasing soccer balls in Greece and personally delivering soccer balls to children.  For Alexandra, this selfless act of kindness has become a mission, all of which has been widely reported locally and internationally.

The spark for Alexandra’s inspiration came from her increasing awareness that hundreds of thousands of people have been fleeing their homes at great personal risk for better lives, only to be turned away or placed in camps in Greece and several other countries where few resources exist.  Her understanding became deeply personal as she learned that were it not for her great grandmother putting her grandfather on a ship bound for America, Alexandra might be a Syrian refugee today.

Alexandra intends to positively impact the lives of refugees, especially children, wherever they come from and wherever they hope to resettle.  Having previously travelled internationally for 2.5 years, Alexandra realized that a unifying bridge to children everywhere is a simple round item:  a soccer ball.  What began as a one-time project has since blossomed into an evolving nonprofit.  The goal:  bring joy and hope to refugee children, one soccer ball at a time.

Homework Central looks forward to Alexandra’s infectious energy, inspiration and commitment to calling people to act.  Together we will inspire volunteers to join us in positively affecting the lives of at-risk elementary school students in the San Mateo-Foster City School District through mentoring, homework support, skills development, and technology training.

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.

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