“She… Brought That Needed Sunshine Back Into My Life.”

Read about how Naw Phaw and Jennifer’s relationship actually grew during the pandemic!  

When you sign up to financially support SDRT as an organization, you are signing up to support kids for the long haul. When we raced out of Ibarra on the evening of March 13, 2020, thinking we would be back in ‘a few weeks’, we could not have predicted that we would not return to in-person tutoring for almost three years (we return on Jan. 17th!).

But, as they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. SDRT didn’t give up. We got creative.

We held drive-by celebrations and Grab-and-Go events so we could see folks in person and encourage them through the trying times. We dropped off ingredients at students’ homes to make things like sushi and ice cream together via Zoom on Fun Fridays. We drove around wearing masks and gloves toting trunks full of books we rallied from neighbors, who were all homebound.

Nothing will stop SDRT and its committed tutors and energetic students. We may be one of the only programs that hasn’t had a huge drop in attendance due to Covid. Our tutors and students alike come out in droves consistently to tutoring—across 5 states—and have for almost three years, even though we are still on Zoom.

One tutor, Jennifer, had her relationship with her student, Naw Phaw, and her family, actually strengthened during Covid. Naw Phaw’s mom asked Jennifer for more academic support and Jennifer, also confined to her home during Covid’s most isolating phase, happily agreed.

“Seeing her smiling little face, beaming through the screen really brought that needed sunshine back into my life. I had something to look forward to, someone to be strong for and she had someone to help her continue learning and growing her brain.” Jennifer took all the drawings of cats that Naw Phaw had created before Covid and taped them together on a piece of foam board. “I made her a custom background with all of her art. It always brought a smile to her face when I showed her my ‘Zoom background.’ “

As with each tutoring pair, it is never just the student that benefits. Jennifer has gained so much awareness about what Naw Phaw’s family experienced prior to their arrival here, expanding her knowledge about Myanmar and the worldwide refugee crisis. Naw Phaw has opened Jennifer’s eyes to so many wonderful lessons in life.

Your financial gift to SDRT is an investment in not just a program, but a committed, resilient group of people. Kids are able to stay in SDRT from when they join all the way through high school, no matter what school they move to. We believe that your contributions are what allow us to support our students in such a holistic way.

Will you start giving monthly before year end? We are still hoping for more monthly donors before the start of 2023. Will you be one of those? 


About Jess

Happy to be apart of the SDRT community.

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