April 19, 2013

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Amy Davis, an AmeriCorps volunteer in her second term of service with the Office of Civic Engagement at Bucknell University, oversees a tutoring program for the children of Essex Place and Meadow View, two affordable housing complexes in Lewisburg.

Bucknell students have been providing homework help at these sites since 2003. Volunteers serve a diverse population, mostly Spanish-speaking children with a mix of racial and ethnic backgrounds.

A 2011 graduate of Bucknell who majored in English, Davis has attended conferences hosted by Opportunity Nation, a cross-sector, bipartisan national campaign aimed toward expanding opportunity and closing the opportunity gap in the United States. Every year, Opportunity Nation holds a national summit that brings together non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, community organizations and individuals working toward the campaign's common goals. Davis became involved on behalf of Bucknell "to consider how our programming can work toward increasing opportunity in the greater Lewisburg community."

The tutoring program Davis coordinates at Essex Place and Meadow View not only helps the children involved, but has enabled many Bucknell student-tutors gain a new perspective as well. "One of the most amazing features of the after-school program is the relationship that forms between tutors and students," Davis said.

"I will never forget one day over Winter Break, I traveled to one of the housing sites to do some organizing." Through the window of one of the homes I saw a Bucknell student who had come to spend time with the students and bring them Christmas gifts. This Bucknell tutor had become part of her students' family," she explained. "In fact, many of our tutors form relationships with the students that develop into lasting mentorships."

There are 35 Bucknell tutors involved in the after-school program, and 50 public school students who receive assistance at the sites. Tutoring happens Monday through Thursday, and volunteers go once a week, totaling 15-16 hours per semester.

In addition to weekly after-school volunteers, Bucknell students have helped the children in other ways. International students have done presentations about their home countries as part of the Worlds Apart Together Program, which raises awareness of other cultures and customs. Students from Management 101 classes have raised money to buy computers and recreational equipment. Athletes have done skill-building workshops and hosted sports activities as well.

Written by Rachel Seltzer, Class of 2015

Contact: Division of Communications