We have been working very successfully in partnership, since 1996, with several local non profit organizations through our volunteer programs: Southside Catholic Community Services, Catholic Families, Acción Social Comunitaria, La Clinica, Carpenter Branch St. Louis Public Library, and St. Louis Public Schools. Currently we are working with the ESOL Bilingual Migrant Programs of the St. Louis Public School system. The programs take place at the Central Visual and Performing Art High School, located at the corner of Kingshighway and Arsenal, in south St. Louis. The ESOL Bilingual Migrant Program offers educational programs for low-income migrant communities in town, from daycare to adult literacy.
At the Latino Youth Tutoring/Mentoring Programs, college volunteer tutors/mentors help Latino elementary, mid and high school students with homework, math, science, English language, and art projects. Volunteers also plan and lead fun and creative activities/games, as well as a few optional field trips. Tutors/Mentors function as role models, helping and encouraging the kids to stay in school. Volunteers also talk with them about issues that are related to their age and social experiences.
The programs, which are very successful, started with 5 volunteer tutors in 1996 at the Spanish Section of the Romance Languages Department at Washington University, doing tutoring to 8 Latino students and taking them to some weekend activities/field trips as well. Since then, we have grown to 60-80 volunteer tutors per semester, tutoring 30 to 35 Latino youth. Volunteers undergo training sessions and always have the support and help of Student Union, the Romance Languages & Literatures Department, as well as the St. Louis Public Schools system (SLPS). We work in conjunction with the SLPS's social worker, coordinator of programs and director, as well as Washington University student leaders, and the Romance Languages Department's Faculty Mentor for orientation and assistance. The SLPS ESOL Bilingual Migrant Program has a great, caring, professional, and outgoing staff of social workers and educators, and Washington University student tutors working there are very happy, safe, and very well taken care of.