For over three years, Michael Gomez has served high school and middle school students at Canal Alliance. He started volunteering as a tutor while enrolled in a service-learning class at Dominican University in the Spring of 2016. The class required students to volunteer at Marin Community School or Canal Alliance. Michael chose Canal. The high school program for tutoring goes from 4:45pm-8pm, so it was easy for him to go to his classes and come to Canal after.
He felt connected to Canal Alliance because he grew up underprivileged just as the students in the UP! Program. Michael had always wanted to be an educator and teach underprivileged youth; It’s his life goal.
While volunteering Michael came in on extra days and stayed longer than needed to. He felt more comfortable in the Canal than the rest of San Rafael.
According to Michael, “the reason [he] came in everyday is because these kids are the best. They are fantastic. [He] would come to work after a stressful day of school to relax rather than as a day of work.”
Michael made such an impact during his time that the students urged Canal staff to hire him. As a result, in the Fall of 2017, Michael began to work part-time at Canal while enrolled as a full-time student in Dominican University.
At first, Michael only tutored high school students in math and science, but this past year started working with middle school students.
As a staff member, Michael faced the same challenge he encountered as a volunteer. Wanting to do more for the students but not being able to.
Even though he was teaching more classes, working more hours than part-time required, as a tutor there was a limitation to what he could do for the students.
Now in his current position, Michael will have a bigger impact on students’ lives as UP! High School Program Supervisor.
As a tutor he worked with every single high school student but only had one hour to help them in the classroom.
However, because Michael is the UP! Program Supervisor, he can make personal interventions to help students.
His focus will be case management. In specific, to follow students’ academic path, making sure their GPA is in good academic standing, A-G courses filled (which you need to go to a UC or Cal State) and ensure that students register for standardized tests.
In this case, Michael will have a bigger overall intervention with students because he can also talk to families and get involved on that level.
Moreover, he intends to plan enrichment trips for students. They’ve all spoken to him about what they want: requests as small as visiting Mt. Tamalpais, which is right in their backyard, but students have no way to get there.
As the new UP! Program Supervisor, Michael has big plans for students.
Michael is one amongst many here at Canal Alliance committed to helping students succeed in and out of school.
To learn more about becoming a tutor, please visit our Volunteer Opportunities.