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Saturday, May 28, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesHELP MAKE A KID SHINE, BECOME A TUTOR

HELP MAKE A KID SHINE, BECOME A TUTOR

Drive by the HOVENSA refinery every Tuesday and Thursday at about 5:30 p.m. and you'll likely see a group of teens congregating in front of the main building waiting for the Shining Stars tutoring program to begin.
One may wonder why teenagers would want to go to HOVENSA instead of home to watch TV after completing long days at school mid-week? And, furthermore, why most of them usually arrive early?
Concerned parents scrambled to get their children a spot in the program, and many other students are on a waiting list until more volunteer tutors sign up to help. The tutors have two qualifications: a high school or college degree and a willingness to help students dig into their homework one or two nights a week.
We all complain about how today's youth aren't serious enough about school and preparing for jobs, how too many kids fall prey to drugs, alcohol, lack of direction and work ethic. But the dedication of the students, parents and tutors in Shining Stars is clear.
The students want to succeed. They have committed to improving themselves by coming to the program two nights a week, bringing progress reports to the tutors and attending special career mentoring sessions. These teens are preparing for their futures, and they have stepped up to ask for help.
Tutors who have assisted those students throughout the end of last school year and this current school year have dedicated themselves to two hours each Tuesday and Thursday evening to help these Shining Stars with their homework, offer career advice and simply to show them that an adult cares about their future.
And that is the key. Studies show that — more than any other single factor — the focused interest that one adult shows in a child's life during their school years determines whether that child will graduate from high school. One adult. Across all economic classes, races, cities and schools, this one factor is the most important in determining whether a young person will succeed or fail in getting an education.
The 8th through 12th grade students in this program see those "one adults" caring. And, in return, these young adults step up to the plate and work to succeed. It's that simple.
So why is it so complicated to get more tutors? Is it lack of time? I don't think so, because most of the tutors currently volunteering are some of the busiest professionals I know. They make the time because they see the rewards, both personally and socially.
In my opinion, Shining Stars doesn't have more tutors because a lot of adults these days are more afraid to reach out to teens than teens are afraid to reach out to adults. There's fear that the teens won't respond, that they'll be disrespectful, that they won't appreciate the adult's effort.
Rest assured, teens do respond — slowly sometimes, but surely. They are respectful, because the program demands it, or they're out. And they do sincerely appreciate the tutors' efforts. Numerous invitations to senior graduation ceremonies last year attest to that.
If you have an interest in supporting St. Croix youth and academics, consider signing up as a tutor for the rest of the school year. Try it out. Your volunteerism can make a huge difference in the life of a teen — and in yours, too.
Dana Villamagna assists Shining Stars in program development and recruitment. For further information, or to sign up as a Shining Stars tutor for the Tuesday and/or Thursday night sessions please call Dana at 778-2146 or Drew Villamagna (program director) at 692-3980.

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Drive by the HOVENSA refinery every Tuesday and Thursday at about 5:30 p.m. and you'll likely see a group of teens congregating in front of the main building waiting for the Shining Stars tutoring program to begin.
One may wonder why teenagers would want to go to HOVENSA instead of home to watch TV after completing long days at school mid-week? And, furthermore, why most of them usually arrive early?
Concerned parents scrambled to get their children a spot in the program, and many other students are on a waiting list until more volunteer tutors sign up to help. The tutors have two qualifications: a high school or college degree and a willingness to help students dig into their homework one or two nights a week.
We all complain about how today's youth aren't serious enough about school and preparing for jobs, how too many kids fall prey to drugs, alcohol, lack of direction and work ethic. But the dedication of the students, parents and tutors in Shining Stars is clear.
The students want to succeed. They have committed to improving themselves by coming to the program two nights a week, bringing progress reports to the tutors and attending special career mentoring sessions. These teens are preparing for their futures, and they have stepped up to ask for help.
Tutors who have assisted those students throughout the end of last school year and this current school year have dedicated themselves to two hours each Tuesday and Thursday evening to help these Shining Stars with their homework, offer career advice and simply to show them that an adult cares about their future.
And that is the key. Studies show that -- more than any other single factor -- the focused interest that one adult shows in a child's life during their school years determines whether that child will graduate from high school. One adult. Across all economic classes, races, cities and schools, this one factor is the most important in determining whether a young person will succeed or fail in getting an education.
The 8th through 12th grade students in this program see those "one adults" caring. And, in return, these young adults step up to the plate and work to succeed. It's that simple.
So why is it so complicated to get more tutors? Is it lack of time? I don't think so, because most of the tutors currently volunteering are some of the busiest professionals I know. They make the time because they see the rewards, both personally and socially.
In my opinion, Shining Stars doesn't have more tutors because a lot of adults these days are more afraid to reach out to teens than teens are afraid to reach out to adults. There's fear that the teens won't respond, that they'll be disrespectful, that they won't appreciate the adult's effort.
Rest assured, teens do respond -- slowly sometimes, but surely. They are respectful, because the program demands it, or they're out. And they do sincerely appreciate the tutors' efforts. Numerous invitations to senior graduation ceremonies last year attest to that.
If you have an interest in supporting St. Croix youth and academics, consider signing up as a tutor for the rest of the school year. Try it out. Your volunteerism can make a huge difference in the life of a teen -- and in yours, too.
Dana Villamagna assists Shining Stars in program development and recruitment. For further information, or to sign up as a Shining Stars tutor for the Tuesday and/or Thursday night sessions please call Dana at 778-2146 or Drew Villamagna (program director) at 692-3980.