The Wheaton Tutor Outreach Program is one of Wheaton’s successful connections to the Norton community and other surrounding areas. It is a semester-long volunteer program that allows Wheaton undergraduates to assist teachers at several locations near campus including: the Norton Public Schools, Taunton Housing Authority and Head Start.
Alumna, Cassie Peltola ’14, the assistant director of community service and Engagement, describes the program as “a great way to give back to the local community, to learn how to teach and motivate others, and to make a difference in the lives of students.” The program does not require Wheaton students to have expertise in any subject, instead, it focuses on the idea that individual peer mentorship of any kind can go a long way to aid younger students. The program requires a mere 1-hour commitment per week, with a mandatory training session beforehand.
Eva Danielson ‘22, who volunteered with the program last semester and has continued this semester, thinks the experience is incredibly rewarding. Last semester, she worked at Norton Middle School and described the dramatic change that she felt she had a hand in making: “My students, at first, didn’t react warmly to the idea of coming to us with questions, but after a few sessions, they began asking for help! I think tutoring is one of the few places you can genuinely see your hard work and perseverance paying off.”
Jane Kim ‘21, who runs the Health and Wellness program, agrees, adding that in her particular program, she enjoys the opportunity to lead her own class and address important topics. “I really enjoyed being able to work on my teaching experience and skills while making a direct impact on local students,” Kim said. “Small things they said, like that they had a lot of fun or loved learning about whatever we taught, always made my day.” Helping other students has been rewarding for many and the Wheaton Tutor Outreach Program will continue to make a difference in young students’ lives for many years to come.