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UCLA Project SPELL

Listing Last Update: September 23, 2019

Location

325 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-8356
alumni.ucla.edu/projectspell

Primary Contact

Stephanie Youngblood

(310) 825-4530

syoungblood@support.ucla.edu

Educational services

  • Reading and writing
  • To help my child learn
  • To study for high school equivalency
  • English language
  • How to use Computers/Technology
  • Citizenship Classes

Program Overview

Project SPELL is an innovative, dynamic Alumni Center program that partners UCLA undergraduate and graduate volunteers with UCLA service employees (custodial, maintenance, and food service staff) for personalized tutoring in English as a Second Language.

Tutors provide their availability, background, and skills, and are each matched with employee language learners whose schedules and needs make a convenient and beneficial match.

Tutors work independently, meeting 1-1 with their learners at locations across campus at their assigned tutoring time and planning lessons tailored to their individual goals. Training is provided during an Orientation and weekly meetings with the Program Director and other tutors. Tutors also have the opportunity to meet 1-1 with the Program Director for more individualized assistance. Materials, training, connections with fellow tutors, and a basic structure for tutoring is provided, but tutors are free and encouraged to develop and implement their creativity to create lessons just for their respective learners. Learners gain personalized support from a caring, dedicated, and skilled tutor as they work towards their respective goals.


Tutors and learners work together in a dynamic partnership that sees both parties learning, growing, and seeing themselves and each other in new ways.

Student and Volunteer Success Stories

"Simply the act of being around the Korean language helped me be comfortable with myself. Before tutoring Young, I really wasn't comfortable being called my Korean name, Young Chan, but he helped me to start embracing my Korean name. Young was easily one of the best and most memorable parts of my UCLA experience." Young Chan, volunteer

"He learned a lot about grammar and writing conventions, but the most valuable thing he gained was confidence. With Daniel looking at options for college, he is now looking at a different future for him and his son." Jackie, volunteer

The reason why I decided to participate in the Project Spell program was because I wanted to be able to speak English more often, and be able to give a speech without feeling scared.

Why scared?

Because when I was in 10th grade, I had a bad experience.My English teacher humiliated me in front of my classmates by telling me to not volunteer to read out loud anymore/ because I could not pronounce well. That day I felt terrible because right when the teacher told me that, a group of boys laughed at me. After that day, I didn't want to participate anymore. I isolated myself from the rest of the class.I was so scared to go through that again, so I decided to not speak English anymore.

When I started working here at UCLA, I knew speaking English was a must, but speaking English was still a big obstacle for me. That changed this year because I had the opportunity to participate in this program. I remember that when I started the program, my tutor, Rocio, told me that I didn't want to get out of my comfort zone, and she was right. I felt comfortable by only speaking Spanish.

My first assignment was to leave a voicemail no longer than two minutes, but two minutes for me were like an hour. It was hard at first, but by practicing, I felt more confident leaving a message and making phone calls. Also when I am in class now, I feel more comfortable talking to others and participating. I knew I may make mistakes, but I have decided to get out of my comfort zone.

I am really thankful that I had the opportunity to meet Stephanie, and learning about this amazing program because it taught me that I can do whatever I want. Meeting my tutor Rocio was a blessing because she helped me a lot, always cared about me, and taught me a lot of things. This is all thanks to you because you took the time to help me out, and to tell me that it is okay to feel scared, but it is better if you leave your comfort zone because it is always going to be for the best. -Sarai, learner

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Program Status:
Active