As a child, Hannah Spotts ’20, absolutely loved reading. Now, she shares her enthusiasm for the written word with local students as a Liberty Kids volunteer, one of seven specialized tutoring programs guided by the Max A. Shacknai Center for Volunteerism, and Education (COVE).
“Liberty Kids is a program focused on developing literacy skills with first and second graders at Hamilton Central School (HCS),” Said Spotts, a biology major from Mifflinburg, Pa. “I grew up loving to read, so it has been rewarding to share my excitement about reading with the Hamilton students. I love developing meaningful relationships with students we read with and being able to see them grow! This past year, we also held a book drive on campus where we raised money to purchase books for classrooms at HCS.”
More than 400 area students received free tutoring services from 155 Colgate student volunteers last year, said COVE Associate Director Meghan Niedt.
“We had a total of 2,457 hours of direct tutoring, and another 1,656 hours of indirect service, which includes preparation and travel,” Niedt said.
Other COVE tutoring programs include a popular SAT Prep program in 13 different school districts, which Niedt said results in an average 100-point SAT score increase among participants.
Caroline Kaicher ’22, a neuroscience major from Forestville, N.Y., said she decided to join the SAT Prep group because she also comes from a rural area where SAT preparation resources were not always easily available or were prohibitively expensive.
“I felt as though my SAT score opened numerous doors for me and believed that I could provide that to others as well. What I enjoy about this work is knowing that I am potentially changing the trajectory of many students’ lives,” Kaicher said.
About 100 high school juniors take six weekly tutoring sessions with Colgate students, with traditional math and verbal lessons, and also time talking about college selection and assistance with applications.
Other popular tutoring programs include Colgate High School Tutoring in Sherburne and Hamilton, Hamilton Elementary Tutoring, Madison Tutors, Stockbridge Juniors, and Stockbridge Valley Tutoring.
At Hamilton Elementary School, Niedt said 40 Colgate students join kindergarten teachers in the classroom at noon every Tuesday to help with lessons and to lend an extra hand for individual tutoring and instruction.
“All of our volunteers are so appreciated by the community partners,” Niedt said. “It’s slow to build and grow steam, and it can take a while for awareness to build to know these tutors are available, but once they know about it, it becomes very helpful for the community.”