VCU’s Division of Student Engagement is partnering with Richmond Public Schools to bring tutors to Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and give them the opportunity to aid middle school students in English and math while providing school supplies to the classroom.
On Feb. 5, volunteers from VCU will travel to Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School to tutor students after being rescheduled from this past Friday due to the weather. In addition to tutoring, VCU is also sponsoring a pencil drive and essay contest for the middle school students.
The Division of Student Engagement reached out to the middle school through a representative from VCU ASPiRE.
“We had a meeting to say, ‘this is what we’re doing for MLK week, how can we partner up with MLK middle school and how can we collaborate on something?’” said Beverly Walker, associate director of the University Student Commons and Activities. “So we were thinking about short term and long term activities. One of the items they said was… (providing) volunteers for tutoring for a day.”
The representative discussed potential activities with the principal and teachers at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School ultimately deciding to open positions for a day for VCU students and tutors to work with sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in the subjects of math and English.
“So we’ll have students that will be involved in the classes. It’s just one day, math and English. And then we’ll also have students going in and reading in sixth grade English classes as well,” Walker said.
In addition to tutoring, VCU is also hosting a pencil drive. Students often stock up on school supplies in the fall but use up or lose track of these supplies by the time winter rolls around.. VCU will be accepting pencil donations at each event during the MLK celebration week.
“We also had an essay contest,” Walker said. “We got about 35 submissions for the entire school and we had VCU staff members read them and we have selected the winners. On Sunday we are having an MLK community dinner and the winners of the contest are coming to read an excerpt from their essays.”
Walker says that anyone interested in volunteering on Feb. 5 is welcome to contact the Student Leadership and Involvement Center. Students from all majors are encouraged to volunteer.
“Maybe there’s a student that’s a different major but still have an interest in math, an interest in English, and based on the material in class that day, they’re still comfortable. They can definitely still contact us,” Walker said.
Walker hopes that these volunteer opportunities continue to expand in the future and looks forward to more collaboration with Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.
“We’re working on some things because there is a process that you have to go through in working with Richmond public schools. But we’re working on future opportunities to volunteer… and at a much larger scope,” Walker said. “We’ve had some good responses and collaborations with [MLK middle] school so we definitely want to go again.”
Adriel Velazquez, Contributing Writer