“How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world. How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution … how we can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness.”
These words from Anne Frank offer inspiration to anyone considering becoming a mentor or a tutor.
As a sophomore at Colgate, I participated in the Let’s Get Ready program, a tutoring group that works with local high school students to prepare them for the SAT as well as assist them in the college application process. Through weekly tutoring sessions, I watched one of my students raise his verbal and writing SAT scores over two hundred fifty points. This progress generated several new opportunities for the student, who went on to attend college, a goal he had not considered possible.
Even if SAT tutoring is not your cup of tea, at Colgate there are a wide variety of opportunities for students to get involved in mentoring and tutoring offered through the Center for Outreach and Volunteerism Education (COVE).
Whether you were active in volunteer service in high school or not, it is never too late to get involved. Even if you missed the student activity fair earlier this month, do not let that stop you from making a positive difference in the local community!
The first step is choosing a program that interests you. The following are some examples of mentoring programs offered through the COVE.
Best Buddies is a group where students work to enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities by developing a one-to-one friendship with an intellectually challenged adult from the local community.
There is also Madison Group Home, where students travel once a week to a nearby temporary home for adolescents in order to help with homework, provide entertainment and as serve as a positive role model.
Another example is Ophelia’s Girls, where Colgate students work as mentors to inspire local adolescent girls to believe in themselves and to achieve great things with their lives.
Perhaps you would prefer to be a tutor to local students. There are plenty of tutoring opportunities as well. There are COVE groups that work with children from pre-school age all the way through high school. Some tutors work locally (such as the Hamilton Elementary and Secondary tutoring group) while others assist students in Oneida (North Broad Street Tutoring) and Utica.
Of course, there are other mentoring and tutoring options, and more information can be found at the COVE, which is located on the first floor of East Hall. Stop by, familiarize yourself with the various opportunities and meet the wonderful staff and interns that make the COVE a terrific place.
When signing up to become a mentor or a tutor, it is important to remember certain aspects of the COVE philosophy that guide all of their programs.
One part of this is forming and maintaining dynamic relationships with community partners. Each mentoring and tutoring group is fortunate to be welcomed into a school or a local organization, and it is imperative that Colgate volunteers are committed and respectful to the organizations they are involved with.
Another part of the COVE philosophy is developing student growth through service. Each of the Colgate student leaders for mentoring and tutoring programs take steps to ensure that their group stays on track with its goals as well as address problems that may arise. This is often achieved through meetings, discussions and debriefing sessions. If you do sign up for a mentoring or tutoring group, be aware that the commitment goes beyond direct service.
Lastly, there is the dedication component of a mentor or tutor. When you serve as either a mentor or a tutor, you are responsible for building a positive, lasting relationship with the individual(s) with whom you work. These programs are not one-time meets down on Whitnall Field from 3-5 on Sunday afternoon – they are lasting commitments. Be honest and certain with yourself before signing up for a mentoring or tutoring program. If you do have the energy, time and responsibility to be a mentor or a tutor then you can make a world of difference to someone.