This semester, our student leaders have been working closely with five tutors from the University of Nebraska. Students are welcome to stop in three days per week to receive academic help. We interviewed one of these tutors, Hadi Alsaffar, to see what motivated him to volunteer with our organization.
With the small amount of free time he has, he says he wants to do “something good —something productive.” Hadi is majoring in Civil Engineering with a goal to work in the public transit sector of his chosen field.He explained that academic help such as this was not accessible where he attended high school in Saudi Arabia; tutoring our students—giving them a chance he did not have—and seeing their successes gives him pride. “There’s more to tutoring than getting help in classes,” Hadi continued to tell us. “They’re getting help with more than that. It’s psychological too—they’re realizing their potential.” Hadi is right, as he has not only helped students gain understanding and think critically about their futures, but he has also helped raise their confidence levels.
During tutoring, it is not uncommon to hear Hadi saying, “I just did something similar to this in class yesterday!” He shows our student leaders that what they learn now will carry with them through life. These life lessons “are something that they can’t always learn in school,” he told us. For those students who are taking upper level math classes aren’t interested in fields like engineering, or any other math-related field, he always finds a way to make academic lessons applicable to life. For example, he most recently explained to one of our students how grasping basic math concepts, and being able to better do mental math, would help her reach her goal of being a nurse.
When asking Hadi what successes keep him motivated, he said some of the things he is most proud of are bringing one student’s math grade up by four letters, and helping another develop a basic math foundation that she needs to succeed as she moves on through high school and on to college.
Hadi is also proud to have provided students, such as Adrian and Angelica, with outside opportunities such as attending UNL’s Philosophy Club, and taking students interested in math and science to a geopolymer lab. These are valuable experiences that develop our students academically and professionally. We are so excited to see our students exploring opportunities such as these with help from members of our community!