The joy of service
Rachelle Garbarine

 

Gibbons students tutoring at Beginning and Beyond Daycare

An inspiring tradition continues: Take the joy of education and share it through service to others. This year, two seniors are carrying on the legacy of an after-school tutoring program for disadvantaged children that began in 2014.

”What started as an inspired idea by three ambitious freshmen has grown into a form of academic support for the students and families served by the Beginning & Beyond Child Development Center,” said Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82.

Joseph Wujek ’20 and Grace Cedeno ’20 are the new student leaders of the tutoring program at the center, long a service partner with Gibbons. The program caters to four- to ten-year-old students. 

The tutoring program’s goal – then as now - is to provide an effective way to give disadvantaged youngsters the help they deserve to succeed academically. The program also hopes to make a difference in their lives.

”What started as an inspired idea by three ambitious freshmen has grown into a form of academic support for the students and families served by the Beginning & Beyond Child Development Center,” said Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82.

The current leaders said those goals are among the reasons it is essential to continue the program. Additionally, said Cedeno, the program has much value not only to the children but also to Gibbons students.

“Making new connections with younger children and serving as a support system and friend is very rewarding and opens our eyes to different cultures and communities in the triangle,” she said.

Senior Joe Wujek'20 working with a student  in tutoring program,

Wujek added, “every single week, their faces light up when we come to see them, as do ours.”

In the years since the start of the program, it has grown, increasing from just a few volunteers to volunteers numbering in the double digits each week.  Clubs, as well as sports teams, also volunteer at the center.

So, what enhancements are the current leaders hoping to institute this year?

“We hope to retain a good group of students to come with us continuously,” Wujek explained. “Last year was awesome, but at times we had less than 20 students, which hindered our ability to provide one-on-one tutoring to every child. We’ve had 30+ students every week so far this year,  and hope this continues.”

Cedeno added that she would like “to host more events such as school supplies drives, toy drives, etc. that can help the students obtain certain ‘luxuries’ that we as Gibbons students never have to worry about.”

Commenting on the tutoring program’s growth and legacy Meyerl said, “When I look at what this tutoring program has become, I am most proud of the commitment that our students have made to help the children grow in their academic development, confidence, and understanding that they are truly loved by our Gibbons community.”

 

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