When I interview potential volunteers for the Arizonans for Children Tutor/Mentor program I often hear things like “I want to mentor but I am terrible at math so no tutoring.” and “I was never good at history so I may not be the best tutor.” While homework help can be part of the experience and very beneficial to the child, tutoring can take on many forms.
Think of the things you learned in life from your parents, siblings, neighbors, teachers and any other role model. Sure some of these people may have helped with homework, guided your studies and promoted higher education but what I really want you to think about is all the life lessons these people imparted. Who helped you learn to count back change? Who showed you how to pump gas or change a tire? Did anyone introduce you to the laundry machines? Did you mimic someone when ordering food? Was there someone to show you how to open a bank account? How to shop for shoes and find the right size? How to budget? Did anyone explain public transportation? How to apply for a job? These everyday interactions of life lessons are things children in foster care may miss out on, especially kids in a group home setting.
What we know is that a child in foster care that has a Tutor/Mentor will see grades, attendance and behavior all improve even when there is little to no actual homework help. Having a person that will remind the child of homework, ask if it has been done, and show an interest in school activities can produce tremendous results. But don’t panic if a child asks you to review their math or help with a science project. You can do it!
Arizonans for Children has a wonderful group of Tutor/Mentors that help support each other and offer assistance in areas they are familiar with so a Tutor/Mentor is never alone in this.
Our Tutor/Mentor program is free for any school age child in the custody of the state.
Arizonans for Children Tutor/Mentors work on a variety of projects with ‘their mentee’ during their assignment, depending on the needs assessed by Caregivers and Case Managers. Whether it is educational, emotional or life skill training, our tutor/mentors spend at least two hours each week assisting their child in developing these skills.
We are proud to say that we measured an 85% improvement in the grades of the children in our program. Additionally, we observed a rise in self-esteem and self-worth for these children.
We believe the matching of an adult Tutor/Mentor with a child who has suffered abuse, neglect or abandonment makes an enormous difference in their feelings of trust, acceptance and hope. A child, who realizes that their Tutor/Mentor is doing this for no other reason except to help, seems to thrive with the attention they receive. This is such a practical way to make a difference in a child’s life and introduce them to a world they would never be able to experience.
For the Tutor/Mentor Volunteer the rewards are incredible. A testament to this is how many couples and family members come to volunteer after hearing how amazing this gift of time is received.
Are you ready to be a Tutor/Mentor with Arizonans for Children? Just think of the life lesson you will demonstrate by simply volunteering. You can be a Tutor/Mentor to a child in foster care!
Arizonans for Children, Inc.
Tutor/Mentor Outreach Coordinator