Compassion in Crisis: VAMOS Tutors Use Technology to Inspire Community

Social distancing won’t stop these student tutors from working with children who need them. The VAMOS tutoring program - in which Visitation volunteers tutor Spanish-speaking students weekly at Our Lady Queen of the Americas, a Hispanic parish in Washington, DC - has continued online during COVID-19.

While club leaders adjusted to their own virtual routines, they noticed a void.

“The COVID-19 crisis brought on a range of emotions. I missed my own normal, but hearing about the hardships of others made me more grateful and more eager to help others, more than ever,” said Marianna Bonilla ‘21.

VAMOS tutors Bridget McGuiness ‘20, Mary Daniels ‘20, Carolina Zubler ‘21, and Marianna Bonilla ‘21 maintained contact with the VAMOS community - checking in periodically - but missed connecting on a weekly basis. Soon they learned that their students shared in their grief, when a student let them know personally that he both missed them and needed their support.

“It was heartbreaking to hear how much he missed VAMOS, yet heartwarming to see how strong the community is,” Marianna recalled.

Fueled by compassion, the program leaders set out to reconnect with their participants with greater urgency. Now, VAMOS continues their weekly tutoring sessions via video conferencing from the safety of their homes.

In an interview with WJLA, Carolina said, "I think we are all just glad we can do something to help others at this time."

“While we can’t replace the laughs, the games, and being in the same physical space, coming together virtually infuses our routines with a familiar sense of joy,” Marianna said.

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