Tutoring Somali Refugees
Suzanne Chipkin launched a weekly tutoring program at the Homer Street Elementary School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her program initially set out to tutor recently arrived Somali refugee children, who ranged in age from 5 to 9. Most of the children lacked any previous schooling and had just been in the U.S. for five months when the program started.
The elementary students met their high school tutors each Monday at the Homer Street from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. for 13 weeks. In just its second week, the tutoring program expanded to assist other struggling students, with 14 students participating in the program.
Most of the high school students, who are volunteers from Suzanne's high school in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, worked one-on-one with the younger children. Both the tutors and the younger students benefited from the cross-cultural and educational experience. Nine to thirteen high school students volunteered for two hours a week, and Suzanne hopes to continue the program next year.