by MaryLynn Schiavi, for BaskingRidgePatch, orginally published 1/31/11
More than 50 Ridge high school students find that tutoring Newark middle school students broadens their perspective on life and their personal journey.
When you set out to change the world, you may find that you too change in the process. At least this is what some Ridge High School students say they are discovering as they volunteer time each week to tutor middle school students at the newly established BRICK Avon Academy in Newark. About 55 Ridge High School students are actively participating in a program dedicated to helping middle school students in a brand new school designed to replace what was considered “a failing school” by the New Jersey Department of Education, according to Dominique Lee, Founder and Board Chair of the school.
The BRICK in Brick Avon stands for Building Responsible Intelligent Creative Kids. The students began the tutoring initiative on Jan. 15, and will continue through April 15, said township parent Sally Booth, parent of one of the volunteers, who brought the idea to the school officials. The students spend two hours each Saturday working primarily with seventh graders helping them with basic math skills.
The high school students are fulfilling a social studies requirement for community service, but many of them said they were drawn to the program because they wanted to make a difference. And some are saying they’ve found is that not only are they bringing about change — but they are changing in the process and finding a shift in perspective. “It’s gotten me to think a lot about stereotypes. If you give in to a belief in the stereotypes you might think that the kids in Newark are not as smart as the kids in Basking Ridge, but that’s just not true,” said Alayna Grewal, a junior at Ridge High School.
“Actually what I found is that they are very devoted and they want a better life. One young girl said to me ‘My mom really wants me to do well.’ It made me realize what a strong desire these kids have to change their lives in a positive way,” said Grewal who not only serves as a tutor but has helped with the coordination of the program and is beginning a fundraising effort.
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