REACH stands for Raising Education Attainment Challenge. The REACH Program at the Cornell Public Service Center is a student initiative consisting of Team Leaders, America Reads/Counts Challenge tutors (ARCC), and volunteer tutors committed to supporting community organizations and schools serving children’s academic and social needs.

The purpose of the program is to recruit and mobilize a diverse, talented group of tutors so that they may have the necessary resources, peer support, and leadership to assist in the enhancement of academic achievement of children and youth in grades pre-K-12th.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Benefits of a Rural Site - Rachel Healy (Cassavant)

Hi! I’m Rachel, the team leader for Cassavant Elementary School. I find volunteering at Cassavant to be an especially rewarding experience due to its involvement in the REACH rural initiative. As part of REACH rural, the YMCA program at Cassavant is located in McLean – a hamlet within the town of Groton – and is thus quite a tiny program. The small size of the program allows tutors to form friendships with the majority of the students there. This is my third semester at Cassavant and most of the students that I know have been there since my first day. It’s a wonderful occurrence to go to the school each week and see how excited the kids are just to have another friend there. Also, because Cassavant is located within such a rustic community, there are numerous opportunities to teach and talk to the kids about ideas and issues with which they are unfamiliar; the learning opportunities for the children go well beyond the subjects taught in the classroom.

Another aspect of Cassavant’s involvement in REACH rural that draws me to the site is that unlike many of the other REACH sites, Cassavant is not within close proximity to Cornell’s campus, and transportation is required to get there. My REACH experience takes on an entirely different element than only tutoring the kids; the van rides to and from the site provide additional opportunities for socializing with other tutors. Besides the tutors from my site, the Groton Elementary School team is also present for the van rides. Not only do the van rides allow the tutors to get to know each other personally, but they also foster communication between the two sites and a better understanding of how the REACH program operates. On the whole, I’ve had fantastic experiences working at Cassavant because of the friendships I’ve developed with the kids and other tutors, as well as the teaching opportunities that working within REACH rural provides.

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