It was my first time being a mentor or volunteer at all. When I first heard about Summer Cubs I thought that it would be a really interesting opportunity to help and be there for younger kids in Main South. My mom has a daycare, so I was used to helping her take care of toddlers, and I always loved reading to them. Analytical reading is a really immense skill in my opinion, and the more we read and improve to read more complex books and look for universal themes, the more it relates to culture and us humans in general. I feel like many kids dread reading. But, if we work with them to really build skills and to look deeper in the text and see the huge variety of literary works, it can open a completely different world to them….more

–E.D, 10th grade student at University Park Campus School, Worcester — 2017 Summer Program Student Mentor

The Summer School Partnership Summer CUBS (Comprehension and Understanding Brings Success) program at Woodland Academy bring together staff from Woodland (an elementary school located in the South Main St. area of Worcester) and other neighboring schools, interns selected from Clark University’s Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, student mentors from University Park Campus School and Claremont Academy (both located in Main South) and student and adult mentors from  surrounding communities, to offer four weeks of individualized learning to Woodland Academy students.

Designed to complement and enhance the city’s existing summer school program and school-year curriculum, the Summer School Partnership seeks to expand learning and academic achievements among Woodland students while at the same time providing leadership development among their older peers, ultimately making a profoundly positive impact on the lives of the students and on the strength of Worcester schools.

The Summer School Partnership does this by offering smaller classes and the interactive learning/individualized attention for students that Woodland values but is hard to incorporate during the school year. Each day students, teachers and mentors engage in scientific experimentation – making predictions, testing them out and then evaluating the results. This process includes the incorporation of targeted academic vocabulary—those words that are not typically used in our everyday lexicon but are necessary for understanding specific science content. The learning process is further extended as students work on writing and speaking skills in both science and literacy; writing about their reading and experiments and also sharing their ideas orally with their small group. Daily Art/ Play/ Engineering activities focus on conversation, interaction with mentors, teamwork and creativity, with opportunities for literacy and numeracy incorporated, such as reading aloud while focusing on artistic techniques and/or using mathematical shapes to illustrate the world around us. Simple activities like cutting and pasting support fine motor development, while gross motor skills are practiced outdoors with organized activities such as softball and soccer.

This is a 4 week program that follows the Worcester Public Schools Summer School schedule. Students arrive for breakfast at 8:00. The program is offered from 8:30 to 11:30 at which point students head to lunch to be followed by dismissal at noon.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? Volunteer mentors are needed to make this program possible! Stay tuned for more information regarding Summer 2018.

• Volunteers will be asked to arrive 15-30 minutes before the start of each day (by 8:15 a.m.), but will be able to leave each day as soon as the program ends (11:30).
• Please consider committing to a full week where possible. Two days (or similar) each week, over the course of multiple weeks is also a really great option. The point being to provide some consistency over the course of the program, which is very helpful to everyone, but most especially to the kids in the program.
• Youth 14 and up are welcome to volunteer without an adult, although adult volunteers are also needed. Children under age 14 are welcome to volunteer with a parent.
• Volunteer training will be offered prior to the program start, at the Worcester Area Mission Society – 6 Institute Road, Worcester. Attendance is strongly encouraged, and teens who attend the full training AND sign up for/ follow through on a commitment of at least one full week of volunteering will be awarded a gift card.
• Can’t make it to the training? WAMS will make a condensed version of the training available on video and a handbook covering all you need to know will also be provided to all.

For more information please contact mary@wamsworks.org

See WAMS Online Service Learning Center for materials that you can use in your own work with youth and/or in preparation for your group’s participation in WAMS-sponsored programming.