In ordinary times, HWS America Reads tutors meet every school day with elementary and middle school students from the Finger Lakes area, offering support to help children acquire new vocabulary, build comprehension and reading fluency skills. The relationships grow throughout the semester with tutors and children sharing common struggles and successes. Although HWS students and elementary students are now learning from home, the tutoring hasn’t stopped — it’s evolved to a new format online.
HWS tutors and Amy Jackson, assistant director for the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL), have teamed up to create a new YouTube channel where local students can connect with tutors for a wide range of book reviews, discussions and educational activities. Videos include tutorials on writing a story and making a lava lamp, French lessons, tips on interviewing skills, insights into the college experience and ideas for fun at-home activities.
Jackson notes that Tutors Catherine Sherwood ’20 and Gabriela Nieves ’23 have demonstrated an impressive level of creativity and commitment throughout the process of collecting and curating the videos. Students from the Education Department as well as students enrolled in Associate Professor of Education Mary Kelly’s “Children With Disabilities” course contributed content to the channel which is shared with local schools and families.
This effort was also met with additional resources cultivated by students from Associate Professor of Psychological Science Julie Kingery’s “Intro to Child Psychology” course which have been shared with Geneva area parents.
Local America Reads parent and HWS employee Melissa Hegarty shared her appreciation, noting that her son “was especially thrilled to see his tutor Olivia Williams’21, a Heron ice hockey player, share “fun facts” about her home in Canada and inspired him to draft a story based on the fun writing prompt she supplied.” Geneva Scholarship Associates recipient Devon Doeblin’20 leveraged a magazine about the Adirondacks to encourage students to draw upon their experiences in creative writing.
The videos, which HWS tutors will continue to produce throughout the semester, will be shared with schools in Geneva and Lyons, where tutors work regularly with local students.
Through America Reads and newer programs like HWS Tutor Corps, HWS students have been tutoring and mentoring students from the Geneva area for more than 30 years. Learn more about CCESL’s tutoring and volunteer work and the efforts of Geneva 2030, the community’s “cradle to career” initiative which is anchored at HWS Colleges.