Averett Students Teach It Forward! with Youth in Surrounding Community

Posted on March 23rd, 2017 by Cassie Jones

IMG_3835  During the months of February and March, Averett students can be found at multiple locations throughout the city of Danville helping tutor children after school. The program, started by the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness (CCECC) at Averett in 2016, is called Teach It Forward! (TIF!) and creates a friendly competition between college students and an almost immeasurable impact on the youth of the community.

“It’s great because they help us with our homework and play with us until they get tired,” said 11-year-old King Wellington, who spends time with a team of students at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Danville Area (BGCDA).

“I play with them in the gym and we play foosball,” said 9-year-old Saniya Howard.

Wellington and Howard are only two of many children who look forward to spending time with the Averett students.

This year, around 75 Averett students formed into teams of about 10 people each and were matched IMG_3850with the follow eight locations: Abundant Life Church, Bennett Memorial Baptist, BGCDA, Camp Grove Baptist Church, Cardinal Village Youth Center, Cedar Terrace Youth Center, Pleasant View Youth Center and Seeland Crossing Youth Center.

The community organizations reached out to the CCECC because they felt there was a need for volunteers who could provide consistent mentoring and tutoring. The University responded to that call, wanting to create something that would make a sustainable impact in the community.

“The TIF! challenge is a way for us to encourage our students to go out in the community and volunteer regularly,” said Rachel Covington, assistant director for community engagement at the CCECC. “In the past, we’ve hosted a Day to Engage or a Week to Engage, but our students only have the opportunity to volunteer for one, maybe two days. TIF! engages them for at least two months, and they are meeting a true need in our community. Our partners asked for volunteers and our students love to tutor, so this was a perfect match!”

“I just like being involved in the community and having the ability to be a role model,” said Averett senior, Alex Argentieri. “It’s fun when you get to go back and the kids recognize you. They want to hang out with you.”

IMG_3836Argentieri is on the Tutoring Tornadoes team. Teams gain points for every person that shows up to their site each day. He loves that so many students are involved this year but not just because of the team-on-team competition.

“When a lot of Averett students are involved it means it’s more fun to compete against each other but it also makes it more of a community thing and that is what really makes a difference. We are doing it because we want to, I’m not too worried about the points,” Argentieri said.

And leaders at the locations are seeing the impact.

“We value the partnership with TIF! as it provides an opportunity for more volunteers to work with and really spend time with our kids, especially where they need it most: homework and other academic projects,” said Faith Stamps, executive director of (BGCDA). “This opportunity also allows the volunteers to really see what we do at BGCDA and how it helps the youth of our community.”