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Claremont After-School Programs Faces Critical Tutor Shortage

January 24, 2012

A volunteer from Claremont McKenna provides tutoring to a student. Since December 2011, CLASP has faced a frustrating shortage of volunteer tutors.

During her 28 years as a teacher in Claremont, Carole Harter witnessed firsthand the struggles that some students face when trying to succeed in school. “Many students need a helping hand with new concepts—not just the things they learn in the classroom, but also organizational skills that allow [them] to turn [their] homework in every day, to do homework properly” says Carole. “Those are the gaps we are trying to help fill.”

By “we,” Carole is referring to Claremont After School Programs (CLASP), a non-profit organization she has worked with since 1993. Operating at four sites across Claremont, CLASP seeks to offer one-to-one tutoring to students in the hopes that it will help them develop positive homework habits. “Right now, there are reasons why these kids aren’t succeeding like other kids,” says Harter.

Tutor Jim and student Andrea pause to take a photo together.

“But with a little bit of help, we might be able to overcome that.”

Space is available at most of their sites and CLASP has received “a pile of applications” for students looking for after-school tutoring. At the moment, however, the program faces one critical problem: a lack of volunteer tutors. “It breaks our hearts that we aren’t totally full,” says Carole, noting the program’s desire to help as many students as possible. But when students outnumber tutors to the current degree, it’s impossible to meet demand.

Volunteers from Pitzer College's baseball team play with students during recreation hour.

Tutors for the program need not have any special training, and anyone over the age of 14 is welcome to serve as a tutor. Carole hopes that anyone who has a passion for children and a desire to see kids succeed in school will consider volunteering as a tutor. Those who are interested can even sit in on current tutoring sessions before committing to become a tutor themselves! “Come and sit in with an experienced tutor and see what it feels like,” she offers. “You might find that the program, and the kids, are a good fit for what you are interested in.”

To volunteer for a CLASP program, or to find their exact meeting dates and locations, please see the calendar of events on the HandsOn Inland Empire website:

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