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.