Aisha Williams was so successful as a student at Cluster Tutoring that she earned a college scholarship and a degree from Northern Illinois University. She knew the best way to give something back was to become a tutor herself.
When her daughter, Kyla, started kindergarten, Aisha enrolled her at Cluster Tutoring. After all, Cluster had given Aisha a strong start, so she knew that was a good destination to strengthen Kyla’s learning skills.
Aisha started tutoring at the same time. She took a break when her son, Blake, was born, but returned when she enrolled Blake in tutoring. Kyla is now a freshman at Elmhurst College studying computer programming, and 9-year-old Blake is in 4th grade.
“I was the first person in my family to graduate from college,” said Aisha, who attended Cluster from 7th to 12 grade. “I know how important it is to give something back.” Cluster’s director at the time, Colleen Maia, nominated Aisha for her scholarship from an outside group, although she had to apply formally and write an essay to win the award.
Having her own children at Cluster hasn’t been too much of a distraction, Aisha said. “Sometime my son will wave at me from across the room, but most of the time, he works with his tutor and I work with my student.”
Like many others at Cluster, Aisha has extended family in attendance. Aisha’s own sister also attended Cluster, and at game time at the end of the evening, Blake and his tutor, Bob Martin, join in games with Blake’s cousins and their tutors.
Aisha’s current student is 11-year-old Jasharia, a 5th grader. They started working together this academic year. Jasharia said the pair mostly works on math and reading, and she gives a good review to Aisha as a tutor.
Aisha does more than tutor, though — she’s a supervisor at a health care insurance company.