Posted September 12, 2014
By KATHERINE FERNANDES
A group of students of the University of Miami has created an organization called Kids and Culture as a volunteer organization that tutors, mentors and brings students from different schools of South Florida to the UM campus.
The Kids and Culture group supports initiatives designed to provide better access to those in need of better education.
This organization has taken special interest in education programs that boost creativity and development in students of different ages.
On Sept. 4, Kids and Culture held a meeting to encourage students of the University of Miami to be part of this non-profit organization.
In this meeting, the 12 current members of the organization explained the program they have for kids this semester and the benefits of being part of this group. There is weekly tutoring from Monday to Thursday, two to four hours a day. Tutors can work from one to four times a week depending on the availability of their schedules.
“Basically what a tutor does is to help students with their homeworks, and teach them studying skills in order to get good grades at school. As the president of the organization, I have to make sure I send reliable tutors that really help our school students,” said Amanda Levinson.
Whoever wants to sign up for tutoring will have an interview with Levinson in which she is going to be looking for a warm, accessible, and enthusiastic candidate for these kids.
Tutors also work with kids from preschool and elementary school.
“I love working with little kids, because they are more energetic and enthusiastic. It is fun to be with them, because I can teach them things like the alphabet and numbers by playing games”, said Lauren Hart, vice president and tutor of Kids and Culture.
The group of Kids and Culture is also looking for mentors. The mentoring sign-ups are going to be in October. The mentor’s role is to advice less experienced students, usually in their last years of high school, in the process of applying to college, choosing careers, and managing college application stress.
“Mentoring is great because the things about going to college are right here for them, it is happening in our university, and it’s definitely easier for them to go to college,” said Levinson.
Mentors do workshops in which they help each student explore career options. Within these workshops, mentors will indicate students which jobs match their personalities and which careers they may have an aptitude for. Additionally, the mentoring team also gives a list of universities in Florida that could match with the student’s career.
People who sign up as a tutor, mentor, or any other job in Kids and Culture, would have to sign a contract for the semester in which they commit to be responsible and be there when they are asked to.
“Kids depend on us, that’s why we need responsible people who really want to help kids and make a difference. We are not forcing anyone,” said Levinson.
Not everything is about studying, Kids and Culture also makes UM campus visits, in which members of this organization do different fun activities and events with kids.
“Campus visit days are the kid’s favorite days and mine as well,” said Molly Shannon, tutor of elementary school kids. In this semester, Kids and Culture will have two important campus visits; one on Sept. 9 and another on Oct. 3.
Activities vary depending on the kid’s ages. Younger kids have more games than older do. However, the older children get the chance to explore what is like to live in campus, be in a college classroom, and to be a UM student. Older kids also get to see the studios of UMTV.
“Kids get so excited when they realize they are in a real studio,” said Sophia Liu, second vice president of the organization.
Organizations like this one show that small acts can make a change in our community. The four people who were interviewed the day of the meeting were happy to be there and happy to be contributing to the American education.
“The giver receives even more than the one who receives,” said Shannon. “When I see kids inspired seeing what their future could be if they keep their grades high and also what their future could be if they go to college, makes me feel proud as a tutor, and makes the work done in this organization worth it.”
“I personally love the campus visits. Whenever I see kids smiling and having a great time I realize that their smiles are worth all the work I do to plan the campus visits. Kids also love our University, they enjoy being here and they are big fans of Sebastian,” Liu said.
ABOUT THE KIDS AND CULTURE ORGANIZATION
Kids and Culture is a volunteer student organization established at the University of Miami. The organization’s main goal is to show students that college is approachable, regardless of socioeconomic status.
This organization offers four main programs: tutoring, mentoring, tutoring outreach and campus visits. UM students are welcome to share their knowledge and skills with those who need it the most. For more information about Kids and Culture, please visit Org Sync (Kids and Culture) and like Kids and Culture at the University of Miami on Facebook.