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Not Your Average Math Teacher: Jan Dyck

Jan Dyck

As a supporter and neighbor of the Downtown Women’s Center, Jan has found many ways to support the women of Skid Row, as a donor, volunteer and MADE by DWC customer - and most recently, as an advocate, by helping us to expand our reach through our monthly giving program.

We sat down with Jan to hear her story and what brought her to the Center.

How did you come to support DWC?

I learned about DWC when the Center moved next door to my home in the Little Tokyo Lofts on San Pedro Street. I came to Volunteer Orientation and Training in early 2014 and from there started volunteering in the Learning Center before becoming a math tutor. My path to becoming a math tutor was serendipitous – it’s perfect because my first love is math!

What has your volunteering work been?

I provide drop-in math tutoring on Thursday afternoons. It’s so much fun, because I never know what a day will be like. Each woman has a unique need; some want to improve their overall math skills, while others are looking for something specific. We learned that personalized materials are the key, and so I’ve created custom flashcards and about 10 assessments that I use in my work.


"I create questions based on things that connect with each woman’s life experiences to help them connect with the material."

I create questions based on things that connect with each woman’s life experiences to help them connect with the material. I’ve created custom word problems to help new Set to Work participants develop their math skills as it relates to the job training they’re receiving, or teach women about adding decimals as it relates to going to the store. These custom problems are important because they help eliminate the fear that surrounds math.

Each woman I work with has a personal vision and wants to get there. Although I am their tutor, I don’t help them as much as they help me. As a woman, to watch these women come from nothing and grow through this community – it’s awe inspiring.

Why do you choose to support DWC in so many different ways?

I believe we must provide food and housing to every man, woman, and child, and recently I’ve seen the need growing in the community. I am a strong believer in what DWC does, and I feel honored to have a foot in both camps as a donor and volunteer.

A Note about Monthly Giving: Becoming a monthly donor is an easy and efficient way for you to support the programs and services offered by DWC. Make a monthly pledge today.

Why do you think a Monthly Giving Campaign is important for the Center?

I see all the work that DWC is doing to grow your support, and I understand that every little piece helps. The Monthly Giving Campaign is easily accessible, and an opportunity that all levels of supporters can sign up for. For the cost of one evening out with friends, you could invest in the Center and help women in Los Angeles achieve their personal goals.

Interested in teaching your own workshop at DWC? Check out our current volunteer opportunities, and find out how you can play a role in ending women's homelessness!

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