Dave Berry is a veteran of the peace corps and now spends most of his time working at a school in a children’s hospital, but in the East Palo Alto area he is most well known as ‘Dave the math tutor’. He has spent over 15 years tutoring math at FCE, and his longevity with the community has provided him with many unique experiences.
One of the other tutors on hand now was a student at FCE earlier in Dave’s career. A number of his former students now work or volunteer with FCE to some capacity. Alumni have stopped him in a multitude of places, including at least one run-in in a bar, and thanked him for helping them with math. In Dave’s eyes, experiences like these demonstrate how tight the FCE community is and say a huge amount about how much FCE means to the Palo Alto community.
When glancing at Dave’s resume, it seems fair to say that Dave serves the community more in a day than many do in a year. To Dave, volunteering is fun and mutually beneficial–“Giving back makes the person giving feel as good as the person receiving”. Dave doesn’t only enjoy giving back, but he also counts himself lucky. “I love walking in the door and a bunch of kids will say ‘DAVE!’ and will pull out their math books… I don’t think many people have that welcome into their work day!”
Education, meanwhile, is Dave’s job of choice because helping kids learn concepts that they don’t have the resources to learn on their own is essential for creating positive change. Math specifically has a lot of stigma surrounding it, but Dave is adamant that “everyone can learn math–it’s just a matter of time and effort for each person”. Dave has found that the FCE students are really excited to learn and want to do work, and the results speak for themselves.