Aspiring educator gets ‘Wheels to Prosper’

With all her volunteering, tutoring work and pro bono teaching, Melissa Siemer’s schedule is busy enough without having to worry about her 20-year-old clunker breaking down. In recognition of her dedication to community service, Dino DiGuilio, hands over the keys to a gleaming reconditioned car to Siemer, this year’s “Wheels to Prosper” recipient.

Siemer graduated from Sonoma State University last year and has been student teaching at Sonoma Valley High School for no pay while working on her teaching credentials. “Melissa is an avid volunteer with her church, Saint Andrews, where she is a Youth Group Leader, drives children to events, is a ropes course leader, and volunteered for theater productions and youth camps,” according to Danise Collins, who nominated Siemer for the free car program. “It would be a great gift for a selfless young lady with a huge heart and a talent to help children and young adults, who has a smile that lights up a room, to continue her quest to help where help is needed,” Collins wrote.

Melissa started tutoring in high school and found she could make a little money doing so, said her mother, Linda Siemer. “However, she refused to charge the going rate because she wanted everyone to be able to afford the help. To this day even though the tutoring is her only source of income she does so on a sliding scale.” Linda admits to wondering why her daughter would choose teaching when other professions would be more stable and financially beneficial. “She has told me more than once, ‘that’s who I am.’” Partners in the “Wheels to Prosper” are Pacific Rim Auto Repair and North Bay Insurance.

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