To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Changing lives through education: an interview with Waltham Group’s General Tutoring

If you’ve ever wondered how you can give back to your community while dealing with the constraints of being a full time student, then look no further! This week, we are talking all about a club that offers an outstanding volunteer opportunity with fully flexible hours for the busiest of students. The Brandeis Hoot sat down with Ken Kirio ’24, one of the senior coordinators of Brandeis’ General Tutoring Club, which operates as part of the Waltham Group organization.

Kirio states that General Tutoring, established in the 1970s, “aims to be a resource for the Waltham community” by providing free tutoring services to local students in grades kindergarten through 12. Tutors are available to help with any subject and even assist students with standardized testing preparation.

The hours are completely dependent on the schedule of the tutor, meaning quite literally anyone that is interested is able to become a tutor. “What attracted me was that I could be very independent and set my own hours with tutoring,” Kirio reflects. This means the volunteer organization holds very few general events throughout the semester. A couple of the events they do hold are the training meetings for new tutors, as well as mock SAT exams for high school students.

Despite this, Kirio’s favorite part of being in the club is the connections he has made with his co-leaders. “The leaders are a very tight knight group,” Kirio admits. “There’s definitely a big step from going from tutor to one of the leaders. When you’re just tutoring, it’s very clear what needs to happen because the leaders lay out all the steps for you. When you become the leader you realize nothing is set in stone.” This challenge creates a strong level of trust and connection between the heads of the organization. “There’s something about working really hard on something that brings you together,” Kirio states, a quote that can easily be extrapolated to all tutors working in tandem to support Waltham students.

Though the immense responsibility of leadership can seem daunting, Kirio notes it is “really exciting to … see the future and directions the club could go.” For instance, General Tutoring is considering extending their services to virtual means of contact. “Post-COVID-19, there’s a lot more alternate education opportunities being explored.” But COVID also had some downsides for the club. “During COVID, we lost a lot of volunteers, and had more demand than ever for tutors.” Though it still remains a big concern for the organization, Kirio is hopeful as outreach improves. “Every semester is better as we recruit more students.”

General Tutoring’s main goal is to share as much knowledge as possible and act as a source of education for anyone who may need it. “Being at Brandeis is such a privilege, and there are so many resources we have access to … General Tutoring is a great way to give back to the Waltham community.” It makes for a volunteer opportunity that is both beneficial to the Waltham community as well as being richly rewarding to the club members. “A lot of kids just need someone to believe in them,” says Kirio.

If you are interested in volunteering and becoming part of a valuable resource for local students, reach out to General Tutoring at their email wg-generaltutoring@brandeis.edu, and attend one of their training sessions that they hold throughout the semester!

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