This year, 11 HWS students volunteered their time and energy to a new program of Trinity Church in Geneva. Working as tutors for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from North and West Street Schools, the HWS students teamed up with another familiar HWS face-former Dean of Hobart College, Clarence Butler, who is now Trinity’s rector.
A recent article in the Finger Lakes Times explained the after-school program, designed to “instill a love of learning in local children.”
William Smith student Janet Tham ’12 was one of the tutors this year. “It’s good to make a difference,” she is quoted in the article.
Fellow first-year Meghan Malia also tutored this year and is no stranger to working with younger students. According to the article, Malia, “said she also worked at a summer camp and was around her mom’s after-school program, so being a tutor at the church seemed like a logical job to take when she got to college.”
“It was the most comfortable place to work because I’m used to it,” she is quoted.
The full article from the Finger Lakes Times follows.
Finger Lakes Times
Church program helps students learn
Amanda Folts • May 3, 2009
GENEVA – After the city faced youth violence on its streets several summers ago, Trinity Church decided to do something to instill a love of learning in local children.
Last spring, the Main Street church began welcoming third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from North and West Street schools for the Trinity Academic Achievement Program. This year, about 14 students were involved, with 11 Hobart and William Smith Colleges students acting as tutors.
On Wednesday, freshman Meghan Malia helped fifth-grader Karynn LaFlamme make a movie poster for a book she read.
“I get my work done, and sometimes I get to play games here,” LaFlamme said.
Nearby, fourth-grader Kiara Gardiner worked on a present for her mom’s birthday.
“They help you with your school work, and if I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t do my school work, and I wouldn’t understand it,” Gardiner said.
When the college students leave for the semester, parishioners and people from the community will take their place.
Teachers recommend students for the program, but Dr. Clarence Butler, Trinity’s rector, said it isn’t directly affiliated with the schools.
Participants in the 2:30 to 5 p.m. program have a daily schedule, which includes snack time, story time, study time, physical activity, arts and crafts and clean-up.
At the end of each week, tutors fill out an evaluation and send it back to the students’ teachers. Butler said the church also keeps in contact with teachers through e-mail and involves parents so they understand the commitment.
The program takes place in the church basement. The work space includes a reading room, which has books available for students to take home; a computer room; a study area; and an arts and crafts room. The main room has plenty of space and tables for the students to work and play on, with many games and activities available.
Besides their regular schedule, students also take trips to the Smith Opera House and the Colleges campus and library.
Butler said the program is funded through an endowment, with the money coming through the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.
Janet Tham, a freshman at the Colleges, is among this year’s tutors. She had worked with children as a camp counselor back home in New York City.
“It’s good to make a difference,” she said.
Malia said she also worked at a summer camp and was around her mom’s after-school program, so being a tutor at the church seemed like a logical job to take when she got to college.
“It was the most comfortable place to work because I’m used to it,” she said.
Butler worked at the Colleges for 28 years, the last nine as dean, and retired a few years ago. He remembered that students participated in community service activities and looked to them to serve as tutors.
“This was just sort of natural for them to come here, to do one-on-one tutoring,” he said.
Not only are students becoming more successful in school thanks to the program: Butler said the college students are acting as mentors, giving them goals to shoot for.
Butler said he hopes to expand the program but can only do that if the church gets more tutors.
“The pay-off’s great,” Butler said. “We get lots of smiles and thank yous and hugs.”
If you want to become a tutor, call the church at 789-2919 or visit www.trinity-church-geneva.episcopalrochester.org and send an e-mail.