Aliyah Washington hopes her years at Cluster Tutoring serve her in her chosen future profession working in a police department.
Aliyah, the Thursday night program assistant, has attended tutoring in several roles: First as a student, starting when she was in 6th grade, working with tutor Andrew Reed; then as a student assistant in Cluster’s Summer Reading Program; and finally now as program assistant, when she gets everything ready for an evening of tutoring.
“Throughout my years in the Cluster Tutoring program, I always volunteered for any opportunity that was asked of me,” Aliyah said. “Whether it was serving at the pizza parties or making donuts for Donut Day. I was interested in the program assistant job opportunity for Cluster because I wanted to give back to the program for helping me while I was in school. I wanted to show my appreciation by helping.
“When Kara offered me the opportunity as a program assistant I said absolutely.”
Like any program assistant, Aliyah takes attendance and sets up the library. She makes sure Chromebooks and printers are available for tutors and students as well as markers, pencils and pens, and dry erase boards. She also takes pictures of tutors and students to post on social media.
Aliyah graduated from Prosser Career Academy in 2020. During that time, she also took classes through the Chicago Police & Firefighter Training Academy, a program that provides training for students interested in careers in public safety, law enforcement, criminal justice, and fire science. She also had a summer internship working at a police station.
Now she’s in her sophomore year studying criminal justice at Harold Washington College. She is still studying remotely Monday-Thursday. She will graduate in the summer of 2022 with an associate in arts degree. The next step is enrolling with the Chicago Police Department’s Education and Training Division after she turns 21, then passing written and physical tests before she can start a law enforcement career.
Besides her Thursday night position, she has been working at Champs Sports as a sales associate for 2 ½ years.
One reason Aliyah is successful working at Cluster is that she knows so many of the kids. She met many at the summer reading program, and she has five younger cousins who attend Cluster. “I understand how the program works.”
“I like working with kids,” she said. “I am good at communicating with people.”
Those are skills that should serve her well as a police officer.