“We needed these!”

SDRT is busy in the community doing our best to meet needs as they arise.

This was one student’s enthusiastic response when he laid eyes on the “Family School Supply Box” TEAM SDRT delivered to his porch this week. As it turns out, the kids’ needs are very great when it comes to being successful with distance learning. Many cannot locate pencils and don’t own pencil sharpeners. Others said teachers asked for them to get out paper during a lesson-paper they didn’t have. These boxes have all the basics they need for their distance learning.

The learning curve is steep when it comes to technology for many of us. It is even steeper for our students. TEAM SDRT is also helping troubleshoot technology issues (while in our protective gear) and answering questions about devices and programs that aren’t working properly. Arriving at classroom Zoom meetings at the right time is proving difficult. It’s hard for many of us adults to keep track of time these days! An alarm clock, a printed out schedule and a reminder visit or call are some supports we are providing for struggling students.

Ensuring that all kids have access to their education, even at this strange time, is one of our main priorities right now. It is taking some serious persistence.

Thank you to all of you who have been sewing masks for our students and their families. One tutor sewed so much that her sewing machine died! Four high school students learned of the need and hopped to their sewing machines. They hand delivered them in less than a week! With the new guidelines of wearing masks in public in San Diego County, these are very much appreciated by our families.

We are excited to share that our ENTIRE Amazon Wishlist has been fulfilled for now! 150 headphones, hundreds of books, cases of diapers and wipes and so much more have been donated. The last 300 lbs of rice arrived on Friday! A huge thanks to the students below from “Together as One,” a club at both Del Norte High and Poway High School, the Wu family (two members featured below) and each of the individual seamstresses and donors who sent items our way this week!

TEAM SDRT will continue to deliver “Family School Supply Boxes,” masks, headphones, food and hygiene items in the coming weeks. As we deliver items, our students quickly arrive on the porch to ask us questions and share their needs. It is obvious that these visits provide them with a much needed connection to someone outside of their home during this very isolating time.

The SDRT Board
is grateful for the way that you all support this important work.
(from left to right: Joan, Tim, Rob & Mimi, Jon & Carol, Matt and Melissa)

You can help SDRT continue this work by donating on our website!  

P.S. The San Diego branch of the IRC has been hosting a fantastic film festival every year. This year, they are going virtual! We highly recommend you watch these three inspiring films from your own living room this month. They will give you a window into the challenges that many of our global neighbors face.

About Melissa Phillips

Melissa Phillips is one of the founders of San Diego Refugee Tutoring and currently serves as its Program Director. She has four incredible children, many years of teaching experience, and a supportive husband who also works in education.


  1. zubeida on May 9, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Its so nice seeing my old tutoring teachers especially Rob and Melissa i miss them so much.They used to tutor me, my brother zein and my sister zakia in homework but now we are separated because my family had to move to another state that was back in 2015. Me and my family now live in Ohio .

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