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There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Volunteers: Stepping Up to Tutor

November 16, 2021


“Everyone has 2 hours to give back,” encourages Cindy, a fourth year UCLA student who has been a year-long tutor with Step Up Tutoring. “It means I watch 2 hours less of Netflix or YouTube on any given week…anyone can make that commitment.”

Cindy Guzman

Cindy, a college student with majors in Sociology, Education and Social Transformation, and Chicanx and Central American Studies, champions a world where every young person has a tutor and mentor, particularly for youth who don’t normally have access to such resources. “Why?” you ask, is this so important to Cindy. “I like giving back; tutoring is something that a lot of students can’t afford especially if they identify as low-income, students of color, coming from marginalized communities. I give back because it was something I never had the opportunity to get and I wanted other students to be able to have (tutoring).”

A California native hailing from Anaheim, with proud familial roots in Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico, Cindy actively seeks out the responsibility and privilege of being a leader in her community. She follows in her older sister Claudia’s footsteps – who was the first in their family to attend college. The power of seeing her sister accomplish something no one in her family had, gave her the inspiration, motivation, and confidence to succeed as a college student, tutor, and mentor. Claudia is Cindy’s role model. Cindy has become Deon’s role model.

Cindy started tutoring with Step Up Tutoring in September 2020, a newer initiative whose mission is to connect every 3rd through 6th grade student in LA Unified School District with a trained, prepared, and supportive tutor. Cindy matched with Deon, a 6th grade boy with dreams of becoming an engineer. With great care, Cindy encouraged her young tutee to be an engineer while offering a safe space to speak transparently about the challenges inherent in a “system unfairly designed” and that does not give every young person equal access to succeed. It is tutors and mentors like Cindy, helping pave the way to new greatness and potential.  

Cindy is no stranger to supporting her peers or her community. As a high school student, she and close friends founded C.R.O.W.N., Civically Raising Opportunities for Women Now. With a similar program geared towards young men, she and her friends saw that there was no commensurate club for girls in her high school. In 2016, one of their first activities was to create a safe space for important civic dialogue and action. The club continues today. The club was recognized by State Senator Josh Newman (Fullerton), for their leadership and contributions towards building a more civically engaged community.  

Claudia and family will join Cindy to celebrate her graduation from UCLA in June 2022. Cindy hopes to attend graduate school, pursue a Master of Counseling, and become a high school guidance counselor offering students who look like her more opportunities to succeed and soar.

Want to join Cindy in making a difference in the lives of promising students? Volunteer with Step Up Tutoring or the thousands of other youth-centered organizations helping students receive the much deserved and needed tutors and mentors. 

California Volunteers is a proud coalition member of Ready Set – a national campaign designed to meet the needs of America’s students who have suffered learning and relational losses as a result of the COVID 19 Pandemic. Potential volunteers can learn about relevant tutoring, mentoring and service opportunities at www.getreadyset.org.

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