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Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth Kohne

From helping out with La Patera School first-graders to tutoring at Santa Barbara High, volunteering adds up for a UCSB student with teaching aspirations

By Rebecca Finley for Santa Barbara Partners in Education |

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Raytheon, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

Elizabeth Kohne has been a volunteer with Santa Barbara Partners in Education since her freshman year at UCSB after receiving an email from the UCSB math department asking for math majors to help at various elementary schools in the area.

“I am very interested in teaching and would like to pursue a career in it, thus I saw this as a great opportunity,” she said.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

Two years later, she is still coming back for more!

Kohne has been volunteering for Gloria Ino and Cheryl Takahara’s first-grade class at La Patera School for more than a year now, and loves seeing the students’ faces light up every time she visits their classroom. Whether she is reading with the students, helping them with math or assisting them with art projects, she said “it never gets old.”

Elizabeth Kohne realizes how valuable one-on-one time is for the first-grade students with whom she works at La Patera School. 'It is the key to learning and understanding the basics that they will need for the rest of their lives,' she says.
Elizabeth Kohne realizes how valuable one-on-one time is for the first-grade students with whom she works at La Patera School. “It is the key to learning and understanding the basics that they will need for the rest of their lives,” she says. (Kohne family photo)

“The most memorable experience is going there every week and feeling so appreciated, as I am always greeted with a hug and a huge smile from the teachers,” Kohne said. “Working with kids is the best part as they are a joy to be around. It is inspirational to see their pure perspective on life, something that we as adults tend to forget to see.”

Kohne is not the only one who is happy about her placement at La Patera in the Goleta Union School District. Ino is a fan.

“Elizabeth is wonderful ... and very dedicated,” she said. “One of my students who I thought would be a special education candidate just read Green Eggs and Ham to his father ... I credit his success to my amazing volunteers. Thank you for sending her to my classroom!”

Kohne believes that volunteering is extremely important, not only for one’s own benefits, but for the children’s. Many times children do not have a lot of opportunities to practice their reading skills outside of school, which is one of the reasons she said she wants to continue volunteering.

“The one-on-one time is very valuable, as it is the key to learning and understanding the basics that they will need for the rest of their lives,” she explained.

Along with being a full-time student at UCSB and volunteering at La Patera, Kohne recently became a tutor at Santa Barbara High School. For the last four months, she has been a math tutor for a biweekly tutorial group, which is a part of a program to prepare the students for college.

“Volunteering in general is an act that one of those children will see and, hopefully, reciprocate the favor later on in life as they see how it affected their development,” she said.

Raytheon is a member of the Partners in Education President’s Council, a group of local businesses, organizations and individuals who support Partners in Education with contributions of at least $2,500. Any company or organization has the opportunity to participate in Partners in Education, but the President’s Council is limited to no more than 30.

» Click here for more information on Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

» Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnusson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

» Click here for a related article from Partners in Education board president Lynda Nahra.

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook.

      |  Partners in Education President’s Council Series |  Complete Series Index  |

— Rebecca Finley is an AmeriCorps volunteer who has been working as a Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteer coordinator. Both AmeriCorps and Partners in Education are programs of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.




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