(Alissa Malerman, Feb. 14, 2017)
Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Southfield, MI – Looking for a way to share the love this Valentine’s Day? The Boys & Girls Club says becoming a volunteer tutor for Ferndale students is a great way to give a heartfelt gift that will reap great rewards throughout the year. The club is looking to play matchmaker for 10-12 club members to capable volunteers that can serve as adult role models and academic partners for Ferndale students.
“There’s not always a lot of opportunities for long-term or consistent volunteering,” said Rachel Frank, director of the Jack & Annette Aronson Boys & Girls Club. “This is one of those.”
And the sweet news is that good-hearted people started to step up well before Valentine’s Day.
“What’s really cool is that right after New Year’s, we had an influx of volunteers,” Frank boasted.
However, because of the popularity of the tutor program, the need for volunteers is always there, she said, despite the influx after New Year’s. The club has more than 250 members registered, of which about 70 are served a day at the Kulick Community Center. At this time, she said 10-15 of those members are still seeking a match with a volunteer tutor.
“It’s one of the staples of the Boys & Girls Club, so technically since day one,” she said.
Here’s how it works: Volunteer tutors commit to meet with a matched club member once a week for an hour at the Boys & Girls Club.
“They’ll help Club members with homework, help them study, work on setting academic goals and even play learning games together,” she said.
A few examples of Club member academic needs include:
~An active third-grader who needs a little help focusing on reading and math.
~A bubbly first-grader who could use some help with understanding some basic math principals.
~An imaginative third-grader who needs to spend some extra time practicing math skills.
~A determined 11th-grader who would like some guidance in studying for the SAT.
Finding the right fit
“It runs the gamut from high school all the way to retirees, though,” she said.
Frank said the benefits for the volunteers, especially if they stay to tutor for a full school year or more, are seen in the relationships that are created.
The advantages to volunteering include “being able to build relationship with youth in your community and making a direct impact in your neighborhood,” she said.
Mallory Frank, Rachel’s sister-in-law, was a lucky recipient of those benefits. Having volunteered for two school years as a tutor through a student’s second- and third-grade year, Mallory said the best part of volunteering was building a relationship.
“It takes time, but when you put the time and effort in, it’s so rewarding,” said Mallory Frank. “It was fun to see and have an impact on her everyday life and share experiences with her. The relationship piece was really fun.”
Mallory said the two would work on reading skills and whatever was in her homework folder. They had an enjoyable time learning together, and doing special projects like decorating Easter Eggs to practice reading/comprehension skills and as a reward for Kandace’s commitment.
When Mallory ended her service to care for a new baby, she said the pair ended on a positive note, taking with them the growth they both shared.
Asked if she would recommend tutoring to others she gave an adamant: “Absolutely.”
Where, when and how
A drop-in teen study table will begin Monday (Feb. 13), and will be available from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Mondays. The group will offer tutoring from a volunteer who has a lot of experience with teens, as well as some snacks for the learners.
The club has volunteer tutoring options at all four of our sites (Ferndale, Royal Oak, Southfield and Washington Township), but currently the Ferndale Club is in the greatest need for tutors as our attendance has increased exponentially over this school year, Rachel Frank said.
Interested volunteer tutors can drop by the Kulick Community Center 2-6 p.m. during Boys & Girls Club hours or complete an online interest form http://www.boysandgirlsclubs.us/volunteer/ . Rachel Frank said you can contact her for more information, as well. Call her at (248) 990-3978 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are Boys and Girls Clubs locations in Ferndale, Royal Oak, Southfield and Washington Township. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/bgcomc/.