Homework Help, Tutoring, and Lessons to be Held in Cyberspace
By Jess Szabo, Arts Writer
We do a lot online these days, from attending meetings on Zoom, to keeping in touch with family and friends on Facebook, to ordering food through GrubHub and UberEats. This upcoming school year, Utica area teens will be able to attend free tutoring sessions online too.
Study Buddy Club, a program of For the Good, Inc. has provided free in-person tutoring, educational activities, and field trips to area colleges for nearly twenty years. The program works to boost grades, improve study skills, enhance social skills, and assist teens in the college and/or workforce preparation process. In the past, weekly Study Buddy Club sessions were held in local community centers, libraries, or other physical spaces. Students would gather on a certain day and time each week, and meet with their tutors face to face across a desk or table. While the program will return to this format once the threat of Covid-19 has vanished, upcoming Study Buddy Club members will meet with their tutors via the Zoom website, and other online platforms.
Moving weekly sessions online will allow the Study Buddy Club to offer even more services to teens. In addition to weekly one on one tutoring sessions, Study Buddy Club members will be able to access tutorials, mini lessons, and online activities designed to improve study skills and provide other information they will need as they prepare for success in high school and beyond.
The program is open to at-risk inner city Utica area student between the ages of thirteen and nineteen who do not have the financial resources to pay for private or small group tutoring. Students may receive tutoring in writing, math, science, social studies, or foreign languages.
Study Buddy Club Online will not be the only online tutoring service available, but it will be the only one that is completely free to Utica area students. Programs like Smartthinking are only offered free to students who pay to enroll in pricey online college courses. Tutor dot com, Wyzant, and similar programs only connect students with independent tutors, whose prices can range from $20 to $85 for a single hour of tutoring.
The field trips and group activities that have always been a distinctive benefit of Study Buddy Club will of course have to be postponed, and only re-scheduled as it is safe to do so, but plans are in the works for virtual versions of these features. Study Buddy Club members can look forward to meeting with other teens via Zoom gatherings, and taking virtual visits to colleges and potential entry level workplaces.
Teens who already have access to a computer and internet at home will be able to attend Study Buddy Club sessions and access all other materials from their personal or family computer. Plans are currently in the works to secure laptops and wifi service from corporate donations for teens who do not currently have the necessary technology, but wish to attend Study Buddy Club sessions.
Along with our new format, Study Buddy Club is pleased to introduce new staff, consultants, and projects. Colgate University student and For the Good, Inc. intern Emma Gaylo is spending her summer setting up the needed online meeting space and preparing fundraising materials. Current Study Buddy Club Coordinator Sparkle Anthony will continue in her role, with increased focus on reaching out to potential Study Buddy Club members and their families. Lessons and tutorials in Creative Writing and other art forms will be provided by Utica area artists.
College students who would like to volunteer to tutor for Study Buddy Club Online this fall are encouraged to reach out to the program’s staff this summer. Study Buddy Club would also love to hear from community members interested in sharing insights and skills that may help local teens prepare for success in high school and beyond, and build community.
Study Buddy Club’s move to an online format gives its staff, future members, and volunteers a lot to look forward to for this upcoming school year. But there is no need to wait until fall to jump into Study Buddy Club online. The group is currently active on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/StudyBuddyClubPage.
Local teens are invited to add the page to their Facebook friends list. Adding the page to your contacts will allow you to keep up with Study Buddy Club members past, present, and future via posts and comments. It will also give you access to original articles and tutorials on keeping up your study skills during the summer, coping with online learning, and planning for future studies and/or entry level work.
For more information, contact Coordinator Sparkle Anthony by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out via messenger to the Study Buddy Club Facebook page.