The program was founded by high-school tutors from under-resourced neighborhoods who want to give back to the communities that watched them grow. Our Board of Directors is entirely comprised of high school student leaders who manage their own financial, legal, and marketing affairs, as well as establish their own plans of expansion and program dynamic.
Board of Directors
Freddy Rodriguez, President, spent his childhood in Pilsen before moving into the Gage Park neighborhood and is currently a senior at Jones College Prep. Inside of school, Freddy is a class representative for his class student government and secretary of Minority Leaders of Impact, a club that strives to empower and create a difference among latinx and black communities. Outside of school Freddy is involved in multiple medical programs, volunteers at hospitals and has even started his own medical program at the Harold Washington Library as he dreams to someday become a doctor. During his free time, he enjoys running, biking or anything that makes him active. Through Bridge Tutoring, Freddy hopes to help kids gain confidence in themselves by improving their performance in school as he also struggled at an early age as he didn’t speak english.
Chief Operating Officer, Christian Baluyut, is a rising senior from Back of The Yards College Prep and a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines. Growing up, Christian witnessed how injustice affected both the quality of life and education in his community. In the future, he wants to pursue a career in Public Policy to help address the achievement gap between the dominant and underprivileged groups in the US by making education more accessible to the masses. Outside Bridge Tutoring, Christian works for the Mikva Challenge Juvenile Justice Council, serving as a liaison between Illinois Stakeholders and the youth. He is also involved with the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program and oversees several clubs in his school including the Student Voice Committee and Debate Team. If not serving others, Christian is spending time with his family or playing volleyball with his friends from Church. Using Bridge Tutoring as an outlet, he wishes to extend opportunities and instill a passion for learning in students from marginalized communities like his.
Valeria Lopez, Vice President, grew up in the neighborhood of Little Village in the southwest side of Chicago and is currently a senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. Valeria is actively involved in her community as a Junior Coach in Girls On the Run, as a local Chicago Public Library Intern and as a volunteer in a community organization called Beyond The Ball. During her high school years, Valeria took notice of the disparities and hardships that surround the education of first generation students like herself, whether it be through elementary school or high school. Fearing more students in her community would have to go through the same problems in their education, she pushed herself to become a mentor and a guide for students by co-founding Make It Work, a high school help and search program for underresouced elementary schools in the Little Village neighborhood. She hopes to continue to provide help to underrepresented and under-resourced students through Bridge Tutoring, in which she believes students can gain a community that they can rely on to guide them in finding academic success and in helping them achieve their future dreams.
Manru Huang, Chief Marketing Officer, is currently a senior at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. Living in Chinatown, she saw the struggles many of her community members were facing due to the language barrier. In 5th grade, she created a community organization to help them in various ways: aiding the elderly in going to doctor appointments, helping her neighbors in filling out government forms, accompanying individuals to get their State ID issued, and many more. With her involvement in her community, she was motivated to use her skills and knowledge to bring in the services and resources needed as she noticed the obstacles and “opportunity gap” faced by low-income families. She is also involved in the Collegiate Scholars at the University of Chicago, a program geared towards college readiness, leadership development, civic engagement, and cultural exploration. Being in BuildOn since freshman year, she helped to increase awareness on illiteracy and fundraise money to build schools in developing countries. She has a goal in fighting inequality in all its dimensions. Through the Bridge Tutoring program, Manru hopes to provide many resources to low-income students, aspiring them to pursue a higher education in achieving their dreams.
Yadira Reyes, Chief Financial Officer, has lived her entire life in Little Village, and is currently a junior at Jones College Prep. She likes to try new activities, and her most recent adventures have included ziplining, playing WeiQi, and teaching her younger sister how to read. She is very involved in Jones, and is a member of her school’s Association of Latin American Students, Computer Honors Society, Chinese Language and Cultural Club, and Book Club. One of Yadira’s goals is to become trilingual, and to accomplish this goal she is learning Mandarin for her third year at Jones. Outside of school, Yadira enjoys playing tennis, loves spending time with her family, and aids middle schoolers on their journey to high school with the program she co-founded, “Make It Work”. Through Bridge Tutoring, Yadira aims to help many students find their passion and not be intimidated by difficulties that come their way on their academic journey. She wishes to help students eliminate the limitations they have set themselves, and make them feel capable of accomplishing anything.