Your Dollars at Work: From Student to Tutor

When Nickole found out she was going to have a baby at 16, it’s safe to say that many aspects of her teenage life changed in an instant, including her educational needs. Nickole’s son was only a week and six days old when she began her first day of class at Street School.

Street School, a Tulsa Area United Way partner agency, is an alternative education program for students who need more support and flexibility than what is offered at the school they currently attend.

Combining alternative education and therapeutic counseling, Street School attempts to disrupt the cycle of poverty by helping at-risk students become productive and responsible citizens. Street School is Oklahoma’s longest running and most successful dropout prevention and intervention program, and it was exactly what Nickole needed.

“I liked going to Street School because it was very welcoming,” she says. “You had all the support systems you could ask for. The staff was caring, and it was like going to my second home.”

After graduating from Street School in May 2020, Nickole decided to become an AmeriCorps member with City Year, another Tulsa Area United Way partner agency.

City Year partners with local teachers and schools to provide Tulsa-area children extra support in the classroom. They train and supervise AmeriCorps members to ensure every child has the opportunity to exceed both inside and outside of the classroom.

In just a matter of months, Nickole went from student to tutor.

Today, Nickole is a Service Leader with City Year. She leads a group of AmeriCorps members at Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, providing encouragement and feedback along the way.

Through her work with City Year and the Street School teachers and counselors who made an impact on her, Nickole is considering attending college in hopes of becoming a teacher one day herself.

“I love working for City Year because I love their mission,” says Nickole. “I’ve always wanted to serve in my community and work with children. At City Year, I get to do both while growing in many different skills. Before City Year I was stuck between being a registered nurse and a teacher. Now after working with children in a classroom, I know that this is where I belong.”