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Tutor Time 

February 18, 2008

Alicia Duplessis

When Caroline Swann enrolled at Tulane she was aware of the university’s public-service requirement. What she didn’t know was that her service work would ultimately shape her career goals. She is among scores of Tulane students who work with For The Children, a program that provides tutoring to public school students.

Tulane student reads to second-grade student

Caroline Swann, a Tulane junior, reads with Tamia Brown, a second-grade student at Banneker Elementary School during their weekly one-on-one reading buddy session. (Photo by Marie Gould)

A junior majoring in early childhood psychology, Swann has continued to volunteer with the literacy program and now plans to become a teacher.

“I started with For The Children to receive service-learning credit for my class, but as a junior it’s no longer something that I have to do,” says Swann. “The program made me realize how much I love kids. and now I’m planning to stay in New Orleans and teach for a while after I graduate.”

While some Tulane students opt to participate as tutors to fulfill their public-service requirements through the Center for Public Service, For the Children program director Monica Ponoroff says there are others like Swann who return as volunteers even after they meet their course requirements.

“From the beginning we’ve gotten so much help from Tulane to get the program running,” says Ponoroff. “We have a total of 119 Tulane students working in one of four capacities. We have those who receive class credit; we have paid student workers; we have interns and then we have those who just volunteer.”

Ponoroff says that For The Children began assigning reading buddies to struggling elementary students in 1994. With the help of Tulane, the program has expanded at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School and Sophie B. Wright Charter School to include classroom assistants and tutors in other subjects in addition to reading.

Marie Gould, site director for Banneker Elementary School, says that Tulane students have a great impact because of the large number that participate, but community volunteers also greatly contribute to the program.

“At Banneker we have 47 volunteers from the community who see the same kids every week,” says Gould. “Members of the community usually come once per week for one hour while Tulane students are able to dedicate two or four hours each week.”

During the 2007–2008 school year, For the Children is working with 462 students in the two schools, providing approximately 540 hours of reading assistance each week.

Volunteer information can be obtained by visiting the program’s website or by sending an e-mail.


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000