Monthly Archives: May 2016

#KickballforAll

Kickball for All is happening June 4th at the Boston Commons Little League Field, and the competition is fierce!  We caught up with some of our team captains to hear what they had to say.

Luisa Baginski and the Amazing Blue Cats
sporty2The photo is a team shot from the very first Kickball for All, where my team from Boston Academy of English (BAE) took the field as “Ballsy Athletic Educators”, and were ignominiously renamed as ‘Teachers With Balls’ by our esteemed leader in the heat of the mc-ing moment. Thanks for that Mark.

I have as much general athletic ability as a geriatric toad, and only for this will I take to the field. I am, however, extremely competitive and “determined”, as I like to think of myself. The word “stubborn” has also been used. So, please do prepare yourself for the bitter taste of defeat because this year that shiny trophy is MINE!

In all seriousness though, I do believe 100% in the work that we do here at Tutors for All, and it’s importance in so many people’s lives. It’s easy to forget when we are face with such huge, insurmountable-seeming problems as inequality, poverty, the achievement gap, that living through these problems are real human individuals, children. The work we do allows us the privilege of reaching those individuals, helping them change their personal story, and knowing the faces and the names behind the numbers. The numbers are impressive, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the names, the real people whose lives we touch, that we do this for. That’s who we are playing for on June 4th, and who we really want to win.

Bring it on people!

Francis Pina and the Kickball for All Warriors (co-captained by Soriya Peng)
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“Kickball is more than kicking a ball, it is an opportunity to overcome past failure!; Failure like the time I missed the frisbee 6 years ago; Failure like the time I missed tossing a paperball in the trash 6 hours ago; Failure like the time I mispelled the word misspelled 6 words ago. Now let’s kick some ball!”

 

 

Mark Destler and the Oldies but Goodies
MDcatch2My name is Mark Destler, and I am the Executive Director of Tutors for All.  I have had the privilege of working with Boston-area kids for the better part of the last 25 years, and Boston youth for the last fifteen.  I’ve been a special education paraprofessional, an English and reading teacher, a special education teacher, and a school administrator (dean, special education, title I).

Ten years ago, I started Tutors for All because I saw first-hand the power of 1-1 tutoring to transform the lives of Boston kids.  Here are some of the things that our (mostly undergraduate) tutors and kids have accomplished over the past ten years.  Here are some of the reasons our programs have been so successful.   Many of you have played a role in their success to date.  Thank you for your leadership in supporting them now.

I am a kickball legend, at least in my own mind.  I remember (foggily, it was almost 40 years ago) running with a crew of four serious kickball-ers in first grade: Susan, Kristen, Jennifer, and myself.   I remember (less foggily) flashing some serious skills on the diamond two years ago.

That being said, I’ve yet to win a K4A trophy.  It’s about time!

Andy Stewart and the Test Takers (co-captained by Bryan Potts and Shane Magner)

10353637_10204989577244384_9103918179649976339_nBe prepared to choose between defeat and injuring a child.  Know that parents are watching.  Including me, you over-competitive jerk.

 

 

 

 

Kate Farrell and the Tobin Tigers
IMG_2074-e1443473642801My name is Kate and I am the captain for the Team Tobin Tigers this year!  This is my first year working for Tutors for All as a Program Manager and participating in Kickball for All.  I unfortunately do not have any sporty pictures of me to share, but hopefully some great ones will be captured on June 4th :)…but I would like to share what T4A means to me, as well as, the great American pastime of Kickball….I am a veteran ten year educator who has spent her career dedicated to serving students in under served communities.  I witnessed first hand the brutal struggle of students who could not pass the Math MCAS and yet had completed their graduation requirements, so therefore having to come back until they could pass the test.  When I applied for the position back in September I felt such gratitude that a program like this exists that supports teachers by helping students who might otherwise fall through the cracks in a large classroom, and prepare them to pass a test that could keep them from moving on to the next chapter of their life.  After running two semesters now of tutoring services for T4A it is truly a wonderful feeling to be helping students fill the holes of their knowledge, increase their confidence, and have the skills needed to pass!  I hope to be a part of the expansion of T4A to other Massachusetts cities where there are also students who are in the same battle!

As for kickball, my love for this great sport runs deep and back to my childhood.  The dusty little league baseball diamond behind my elementary school became the arena of many great moments of glory and victory.  No matter what skill level we had for some reason it seemed like everyone in my class could  meet on that field and play some kickball.  It would be competitive and yet fun.  There would be serious intentions and yet a lot of laughter.  And now as an adult playing kickball is like flying in a time machine back to my childhood, and I feel this may be true for many of us as this game seems to be the staple in the memories of many Americans and perhaps humans in generals.

Looking forward to playing with y’all on the 4th and hopefully holding one of those amazing trophies!  Go Team Tobin Tigers!

Richard Wilson and #dabnation

IScreenshot_20160524-182423 haven’t played kickball in 7 years,  but I have assembled the most passionate, motivated, inspiring, and charitable group of people. We can’t wait to get out there and show exactly that.

 

 

 

 

 

Kickball for All Spotlight: Andy Stewart

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 9.56.25 AMAndy Stewart was one of the original T4A staff members who helped create Kickball for All in 2011; he’s played in K4A tournaments ever since. In 2014 he became a team captain, and his team The Test Takers took home the winner’s trophy. Although he has since moved back to his home state in Michigan, Andy travels back to Boston every year to take part in our kickball tournament – the true definition of a “team player”! He shared with us the origins of K4A, advice for new players, and his predictions for this year’s winners.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and moved to Boston with my wife in 2004. When we came to Boston, I found a job at Codman Academy as the Technology Director. I have always had an interest in technology – however, I knew this wasn’t something I wanted to do long term. I decided to make a career shift to Investment Management, so in 2009, I graduated from Boston College with a degree in Finance. I remained heavily involved with Codman Academy, which allowed me to meet Mark when he began to run tutorial at the school in 2008. He was aware of my new career path, and in 2010, I was hired as the Director of Finance and Operations for Tutors for All. Despite having since moved back to Michigan with my family, my dedication to Tutors for All has not diminished, and the organization will forever be an important part of my life.

Since you’ve been a part of K4A from the beginning, I have to ask- why kickball? Why not some other sport?

Kickball is a sport that most people know the general rules. Unlike baseball or football, it’s easy to explain and doesn’t require intense practicing and training. You have to admit, pitching a kickball is much easier than pitching a baseball. Because the sport is so inclusive, we thought it would be perfect for our event!

What is your favorite part about the event?

Each year when I know it’s almost time for Kickball for All, I immediately start looking forward to seeing Mark and the rest of my old co-workers. It’s always nice to catch up with them since I don’t get to see them often. I love watching the crowd of people grow each year as more people get involved with Tutors for All.

Is there anything you would recommend to people thinking about playing this year?

There are two things: the first thing I always tell people is that they shouldn’t worry too much about the mechanics of kickball. It doesn’t matter how well you play or if you’re inexperienced. The important thing is that you have fun, meet people, eat food and learn about the organization.

The second is that it’s always good to have different kinds of people at the event, especially former students who have experienced our programs first-hand. I like to encourage former and current students to attend the event, though many feel like they won’t be able to raise enough of money. In those situations, I tell students that any donation is helpful, and that the important thing is to have fun, meet people, and spread awareness about Tutors for All.

What has been the key to your success when it comes to raising so much money for this event?

It’s beneficial when you have co-captains who are actively helping you raise a team goal. In the past, Bryan Potts, Shane Magner and I co-captained a team called The Test Takers, and together we raised more money than we would have individually. When trying to get donations, I seek help from my parents, in-laws, relatives, friends and co-workers. I have built a strong networking platform where I’m able to send over 50 emails, and if half of those people donate then it’s a success. I’m often able to get large donations from my business contacts, and all of the small donations I receive from others start to add up.Then before you know it, I’ve reached my goal! I would rather have 1,000 people giving $10 than have 1 person giving $1,000. Being able to spread the word about Tutors for All is an essential part of Kickball for All.

Lastly, which team do you think is going to win Kickball for All 2016?

Well to be honest, last year I didn’t think we were going to win. It ultimately came down to the last five minutes when I was able to raise a couple of hundred dollars by asking people on the field to donate. This year, I know it’s going to come down to Mark and I (unless Bob Hornstein comes from left field). But my team will still win.