Summer may already be over some San Diego students, but parents, with the kids in school or not, you should know about these FREE, year-round tutoring programs.
Summer Readers and Homework Helpers, programs setup by the San Diego Public Libraries, offer kids (K-12) year-round access to free reading mentoring and homework tutoring. Volunteer San Diego leads the team of volunteer tutors and mentors, who range from older high school and college students, fulfilling community service needs, to corporate teams lending a hand, to retirees who just enjoy it. For the kids, there is a range of benefits to this program. Many come from homes where English is not the first language so the interaction and language reinforcement alone benefit them, especially in summer when they are not in a classroom everyday. For parents, it's a simple solution for those who perhaps don't have time to help with homework or aren't confident in the language or curriculum, many of the parents assign the homework themselves and then drop off the kids to do the work with their helpers.
Andrew Tran, one of the team leaders with Volunteer San Diego, coordinates these weekly efforts and oversees the group of students and volunteers for the session. He wants to get the word out to more parents, that these programs are available throughout the county, and that VSD makes it easy to sign up and volunteer. Andrew admits the challenge of the program is that you never know the ratio of kids to tutors; sometimes one's attendance will outweigh the others. But it's also that flexibility that makes this program unique. Neither kids nor volunteers need to commit for any length of time, drop in once a week or once a month!
Some might fear they are going to be paired with an 8 year-old whose math skills exceed their own. But fear not, a majority of the kids are on the younger side (K-5) and their needs are fairly basic. In my own experience, I helped a quiet but efficient little reader power through 3 books and write corresponding summaries, others were doing math and reading exercises. At a time range of an hour and a half, it's just enough time to dig into a project and make progress, but not too much time where you really need to deal with attention issues and feeling like you are dragging a child through the exercise. I will be back to my local library to volunteer again!
Check out VolunteerSanDiego.org to learn more about the Summer Readers and Homework Helper programs.