Team Read Alumna Kiersa Sanders

Job Title and Company
Strategy & Operations Consultant, Deloitte

Team Read Experience
2004-05: Reading coach at Whitworth Elementary and Hawthorne Elementary
2016-present: Team Read Board Member

When I was 15, all of my friends were looking for a job. Unfortunately, very few places hired workers under 16, and those that did expected applicants with prior experience. I was frustrated because I wanted to get job experience and I also wanted to be able to earn money. When I learned about the Team Read opportunity, applying was a no-brainer. It provided me with the opportunity to earn a competitive hourly wage, learn valuable lessons about responsibility, and make a positive impact on my community. My experience at Team Read set the trajectory for the rest of my professional career.

The most powerful lesson I learned from my experience at Team Read was how to stick to a commitment. It was my responsibility to travel to my reader every day after school. I did not have an option to be late or not show up. It was my responsibility to put forth my best effort to help students enjoy reading. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could help them learn to love reading as much as I did. I was able to apply those lessons learned to the other jobs I had throughout high school, and even use the lessons from Team Read today in my career as a management consultant.

Team Read Alumna ShanShan Tan

Job Title and Company
Academic Advisor, Seattle University

Team Read Experience
2002-03: Reading coach atat Beacon Hill Elementary School

When I found out that I could be paid for doing what I enjoyed, which for 16-year-old me was working with children, I immediately completed my application for Team Read. I chose to be a reading coach at Beacon Hill Elementary because I wanted to inspire students to read. I immigrated to Seattle when I was 10 years old, so reading was a struggle for me when I first started school. However, with the inspiration and support of my amazing 6th grade teacher, my reading improved and I fell in love with books and wanted to consume more. In 2002, Beacon Hill Elementary had a diverse population of students and many students were English Language Learners. I joined Team Read because I wanted to help other children like me learn to read and find the joy of books.

Through my experience at Team Read, I discerned that although I don’t want to be a teacher, I want to work in education to support students in achieving their goals, whether it be reading a full sentence by themselves without any support or being the first in their family to obtain a college degree. During my time as a coach, I also built a community of friends that I could identify with. Now, I will occasionally run into my fellow Team Read coaches on the bus or around the city, and we’ll stop and catch up on life. These individuals are also professionals in my network whom I can reach out to if I ever need it. Team Read was one of my many experiences volunteering in the field of education, and it guided me in determining which path in education I wanted to venture into.

Team Read Alumna: Tiffany Chan

Job Title/Company
Administrative Systems Coordinator, EarthCorps

Team Read Experience
Reading coach: 2006-2009
Site Assistant: 2009-2010
Tutoring Sites: Beacon Hill, Van Asselt and Madrona

Seven years after leaving Team Read, Tiffany Chan is still using many of the skills she learned as a reading coach. “Team Read has a good culture that is inspirational in creating the work that I do now,” she says. Tiffany is currently the administrative systems coordinator for EarthCorps, which brings together passionate and hardworking young adults from the US and countries around the world, for a yearlong leadership training program in Seattle.

Team Read provided Tiffany with an ongoing learning experience and curiosity to build relationships. “It takes a lot of patience and persistence when you’re trying to connect with kids who are learning to read,” she says. “You discover new ways to get students excited about reading – let them pick a book that they like, talk about that book and ask questions. Through humor and fun, you integrate learning.”

“One of the elements of mentorship that I see myself bringing to EarthCorps is the value in weaving together the individuality of participants with the collective goal at EarthCorps so that it’s stronger than ever before. Visually it’s like constructing a stronger and multifaceted yarn strand from intertwining thinner and single colored threads – each still their own individual strand, but collectively creating a vibrant and durable yarn ball to make a comfy sweater.”

Prior to joining the team at EarthCorps, Tiffany worked at Woodland Park Zoo as a youth programs instructor, visiting middle schools to teach students about conservation and what they can do to help animals at home and around the world. She also mentored high school volunteers and interns.

As she continues to build important relationships and inspire others to make a difference in the world, Tiffany is grateful for the experience and knowledge she gained in Team Read. Through her work in environmental justice, she hopes to “bridge and strengthen this local and global exchange of practices, efforts, and perspectives in cultivating vibrant and thriving communities.”

Check it out! Tiffany was recently featured in an article in The Stranger for her work with Open Seattle.

Team Read Alumnus: John Chen

Job Title/Company: Single Family Lending Systems Administrator, HomeStreet Bank

Team Read Coach: 2006-2007 at Hawthorne Elementary School

Like many other former Reaching Coaches, this was my very first job. I didn’t know it at the time but Team Read gave me the opportunity to develop and improve many skills, one of which I consider to be extremely valuable: communication. When I was young I was very shy and quiet, but Team Read allowed for an environment that was less intimidating. It was so much easier for me to tutor and talk with someone younger and this allowed my confidence to grow when communicating with others. I feel that this program helped prepare me for the “real world” and played an important part in getting me to where I am today.

Team Read Alumna: Sarah Arellano

Job Title/Company: 2nd Grade Teacher, Seattle Public Schools

Team Read Coach: 2000-2001, Dearborn Park Elementary School

I worked with Team Read in 2000-2001 at Dearborn Park Elementary. I was very proud to have that as my first job and to be able to work with students. It was wonderful to know that we were helping students by reading with them and by providing different reading strategies. Even after I finished high school, I told my relatives who were attending high school about Team Read and encouraged them to join.

Working for Team Read made me realize that I wanted to be a teacher. I enjoyed working in an environment where everyone is learning something new every day. Now that I am a teacher, I am doing the same thing with my students who need additional support in reading. I am glad that Team Read is still around helping many students who need one-on-one support in reading.

This summer, I will be the Site Coordinator for Team Read at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, where I teach. I am excited to work with students who will be working hard to improve their reading skills. Some of them will be my current students, which makes it even more enjoyable for me!

Team Read Alumna: Itzchel Bazan

Education: B.A. in Sociology, Minor in Non-profit Management, University of Washington/ Aspiring Fundraiser

Reading Coach: 2008-2009

Reading Leaders Site Assistant: 2010-2011

I signed up for Team Read not knowing what to really expect. At that time in my life I was 16, and unsure what I wanted to do with my future—but I knew I wanted to bring forth social change in my community. As a first generation American, person of color, and a woman, I was familiar with inequitable social structures that made an impact on my learning and future. I was determined to achieve my personal academic success, and along the way tutor students from my neighborhood at Concord Elementary School in South Park. I chose to work at this location because it was a vibrant, welcoming, and mostly Latino community that had a demand for Spanish/English tutors.

My tutoring experience was typical. Students were hesitant to read during the first few weeks, but through praise and encouragement my students started to develop a new relationship with reading. They connected with characters in the books, which increased their overall empathy, cultivated a positive relationship with their reading coach that taught them it was okay to ask for help, and most importantly it sparked an interest in reading. As weeks progressed, many students went from backlashing and refusing to read, to getting excited to read to their coach. Watching mentorships flourish made me love my first job.

Now, recently graduated from the University of Washington, I want to continue the legacy of nonprofits by maximizing their impact on the public through necessary dialogue, and strategic methods of funding vital programs.