GENEVA -- Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Greg Vincent addressed a group of more than 60 HWS tutors and staff Monday night at the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, crediting the students with being part of a "revolution" in American secondary education.
Vincent told the students their work with the Boys & Girls Club members is both a demonstration of community engagement, but also an exercise in learning by doing.
"As a professor myself I certainly honor the learning you and your professors do in the classrooms and labs on campus,'' Vincent said. "But it is here, sitting side by side with these kids, where some of your most important lessons will be learned.''
The HWS students are part of what has become known as the Tutor Corps, a group of students who visit the Boys & Girls Club on a regular schedule throughout the school year, offering tutoring and mentoring to Geneva's school children from grades 1 to 12. Last year, the students spent more than 9,000 hours with club members.
The Tutor Corps is part of a collaboration between HWS' Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, the Boys & Girls Club and the Geneva City School District under the umbrella of Geneva 2020, a collective impact organization attempting to improve graduation rates and educational outcomes in Geneva. It brings together in each room a combination of club staff, college tutors and school teachers who help club members with homework and academic skills. After an hour of academics, the college students visit with the club members, participating in games, exercise and arts.
"There are many ways to learn and this combination of tutoring and mentoring is, I believe, a great way of helping our club members develop fully after the formal school hours,'' said Chris Lavin, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club in Geneva. "If we can flood the zone with good guidance and influence, we can make progress. That we have a partner like HWS and the active support from President Vincent and his professors makes this a truly unique effort.''
Pat McGuire, a retired economics professor and former provost of HWS, also addressed the Tutor Corps, sharing with them his effort to chronicle and measure the impact of this program on the progress club members make in school and life.
"People say tutoring is great but you can't measure it,'' McGuire, who is a Boys & Girls Club board member, told the tutors. "I believe you can and I will be touching base with you through the year to get reports from you. I want to know what you see, what you experience. I love data and you are my data.''
The Boys & Girls Club of Geneva operates an after-school program throughout the school year at both 160 Carter Road and 1 Goodman Street. The club also operates the Geneva Community Center, offering senior services and exercise and meeting support to more than 20,000 visitors each year. The Boys & Girls Club of Geneva is a private, not-for-profit organization.