Volunteer tutors can close the gap

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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One of the most effective ways to help reduce the minority student achievement gap is to be a volunteer tutor. Research shows that tutoring and mentoring help to improve grades, overall school achievement, and high school graduation rates. Tutoring also helps lower school truancy, disciplinary referrals, teen drug and alcohol use, and teen pregnancy rates.

Each year more than 100 volunteers with the Cluster Tutoring program work individually with students from the Austin community to help children with homework and reading skills. But we always need more volunteers.

Did you ever wonder if you've got what it takes to be a volunteer tutor? You do! You don't need special training, just a willingness to help a child learn. Won't you consider joining our tutoring team?

Cluster Tutoring has been providing free one-to-one tutoring for students for over 25 years. Besides assisting with homework, our volunteers help bolster students' literacy skills through our structured reading program. Most tutors are adults, but high school students make wonderful tutors, too. And it's a great volunteer project for high school students applying to college. 

Many of our tutors find they get as much out of the program as the students. The atmosphere is supportive, friendly, and relaxed. Tutors receive extra support through reading specialists and volunteer math coaches.

Cluster Tutoring meets 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, and volunteers can come on either night. Students are in grades K-12, but most are in the elementary grades. The commitment involves one 90-minute session each week from late September to mid-May. Volunteers come Tuesdays to Circle Urban Ministries (118 N. Central in Chicago) or Thursdays to First United Church of Oak Park (848 Lake St.).

Information sessions for new tutors will be at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Thursday, Sept. 12, at First United Church. For more information about Cluster, call 773-378-5530 or email clustertutoring@clustertutoring.org. 

Or visit the Cluster website at https://clustertutoring.org.

Abby Sullivan

Volunteer and board president,
Cluster Tutoring

Oak Park

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