Los Altos moms Ann Wolff and Christy Flahavan have dedicated much of their time to helping students. Now they are furthering their involvement with the educational system by working for Mentor Tutor Connection, a local nonprofit organization that supports area schools.
“It’s a really wonderful opportunity to learn more about yourself and the other people that live in your community that you might not otherwise cross paths with,” Wolff said.
Wolff is the new mentor program manager for Los Altos High School (replacing June Wong), and Flahavan is MTC’s first middle-school coordinator. Both started their positions at the beginning of the school year and operate part time out of Los Altos and Mountain View schools.
According to Linda Eckols, MTC’s education consultant, Wolf was hired because of her work experience in psychotherapy for children and adolescents and her work as a clinical social worker at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, while Flahavan was selected for her professional experience in corporate communications and marketing and her volunteer commitments.
Supervising from her office at Los Altos High, Wolff said she hopes to support the beneficial relationship between mentors and mentees by training mentors, properly matching them with mentees and monitoring the development of their connection.
“It’s challenging to engage a teenager,” she said. “It’s really critical to the success of these relationships to make sure that both parties are getting what they want and are understanding their role.”
With her own children in college, Wolff said she found time to be a volunteer mentor for MTC throughout the past year and noted that the experience was more gratifying than parenting.
Although the students MTC serves often face socioeconomic hardships at home, MTC’s 84 mentors work closely with students and participate in activities such as attending a baseball game or learning how to cook.
“These students are underprivileged and often the first generation going to college,” Wolff said. “The students really benefit from having another adult in their life who they can trust and open new doors to experiences.”
Wolff said she intends to use her position to continue the program’s success; all of last year’s mentees graduated from high school.
Flahavan said she hopes to pioneer her role as middle-school coordinator for the Los Altos and Mountain View Whisman school districts. She served as Springer School’s PTA president last year, which is how she learned about MTC.
“I was looking to rejoin the workforce, but I wanted to find something that would keep me connected to the schools, because I really enjoyed my involvement in the school district,” she said.
Flahavan’s position focuses on developing the middle-school program and acting as a liaison to match volunteers with students.
“The program has been very impactful at the elementary level, and there’s room for growth in the middle schools, where scheduling logistics can be a bigger challenge,” she said.
Flahavan’s duties include recruiting, interviewing and placing volunteers at middle schools.
“We’re fortunate that we live in an area where there are a lot of people willing to help others, and MTC really embodies that concept that it takes a village to raise a child,” she said.
Flahavan said her goal is to increase the number of tutors available to middle schools and boost awareness of the resource. There are currently 83 tutors working with more than 400 students at local schools throughout the organization, according to Eckols.