The program I am doing is known as a homework center. It takes place at the Lincoln School. Every day, Monday through Thursday, at quarter past two when classes have finished, two to three student volunteers from Brookline High School go to the library at Lincoln for an hour. Volunteers organize and chaperone a study center where Lincoln students come to do work. The volunteers help with the homework and get to know the kids. Hopefully the volunteers become good friends with the kids as well as take on a teaching role.
In the past, 10 to 20 Lincoln students went to the center. However, during the last year the numbers have dropped. One of my main goals is to make the center fun for the kids. If I can make going to the center a "cool" thing to do for the kids at Lincoln, then more kids will come.
One of the great aspects of this program is that the students and the volunteers both get something beneficial from it. The Lincoln students get their work done earlier, therefore developing good work habits that help them in high school and beyond. They will also have the opportunity to talk with, learn from and get to know some older kids. The fact that they are being taught by older kids, not teachers, means that the program is different from school, which I think is positive. This program also benefits the student volunteers. They have the opportunity to get to know and work with younger kids. As well as being fun, the program teaches them how to work with kids productively. For volunteers who do not have younger siblings, this program gives them an opportunity to be around younger kids, something that they may not experienced very often.
So far, my biggest hang-up has been getting the program going. It seems that once I try to get an aspect of the program squared away, something else comes up and limits what I can do. Another challenge is finding recruits. Many of the people I have spoken to play sports after school and are therefore cannot volunteer. My goal for this program is to continue to supply a service to the children of Lincoln School. I hope that the volunteers will not only work with and tutor the children, but will also get to know them as friends and even as role models. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.