“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
These words by Nelson Mandela still ring true today. There is no way to quantify how important a good education is, and one should leave no stone unturned when searching for ways to improve. This is something Brandee Derieux and Deb DeFelice took into consideration when starting the tutoring program at the Pfeiffer Community Center. The program, which will be free to residents, will run after school from 4 to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays.
“We’ve been talking about this for years,” Derieux said of the new tutoring program which went into effect on Oct. 7. “Now that I’m in a position to do it, we brainstormed and put it together.”
Derieux contacted the high school, specifically vice principal Caroline Yoder, who put her in contact with Mark LaPalomento, who is in charge of the National Honor Society, and Stacy Coia, who is in charge of the Future Teachers of America. LaPalomento and Coia provided students to volunteer their time to tutor children from kindergarten through 12th grade in exchange for approved community service hours, which can be used on a resume or for their mandated NHS service hours.
As far as the future teachers, it gives them an opportunity to have a peek into their future, albeit on a smaller scale, it gives them a chance to work with students and practice teaching skills.
“I think it’s a win-win for everybody,” Derieux added. “Once it takes off, it’s going to be really, really good.”
Offering free tutoring at the Pfeiffer Community Center is a small thing Derieux believes could bring the community together.
“This township, like other townships, there’s so much you can do without costing taxpayer’s dollars,” she said. “It’s all about linking your community together. My goal is to slowly get our community together. That’s my goal. From senior citizens to kids to families, I think we all need to come together as a whole one step at a time.”
This can be done through something as simple as tutoring. According to theknowledgeroundtable.com, cost for a tutor could range anywhere from $17 to $45 per hour; take that across a full week, one could realistically spend more than $200 in tutoring weekly. In Williamstown, this is now something that can be done for free in the community, all while giving others the opportunity to gain experience as tutors in the process. This reciprocity is what Derieux is alluding to when she says “bring the community together.”
An announcement for the program was made on the district website, monroetwp.k12.nj.us which includes a link to sign up for the tutoring through signupgenius.com. For questions on the program, contact Derieux at email@example.com.