Laraway Homework Club searches for volunteers

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A program in which JSC students tutor their counterparts at Laraway School may cease if more volunteers cannot be found.

“There is a strong need for dedicated students to volunteer with this fantastic program,” SERVE Graduate Assistant Tara Robinson said. “Without volunteers, this program will not be able to continue.”

The Laraway Homework Club connects Laraway’s Substitute Care youth with tutors from Johnson State College. Laraway offers therapeutic foster care to youth from across Vermont, and as the child experiences successes in the foster home, school and community, steps are taken to move towards goals, such as continuing education.

In the process, the Laraway Homework Club allows Laraway students access to help with their homework in a college setting as well as access to information about higher education.

This program began last fall when Ellen Hill, the director of experiential education at Johnson State, connected Robinson with Laraway Substitute Care Activities Coordinator Morgain Raleigh at the Laraway Family and Youth Services.

“Morgain was hoping to start up a homework club for Laraway youth who were struggling with classwork and were receiving low grades in school,” Robinson said.

Robinson then managed to get three JSC students to volunteer every week beginning this past spring semester, and the program took off from there. “The staff and students of The Laraway Substitute Care Program are extremely grateful to the staff and students at Johnson State College for welcoming Laraway youth on campus and making the homework club possible and sustainable,” Raleigh said.

The program is currently run by JSC’s Mentoring Programs Coordinator Sam Flint alongside Raleigh, although Robinson says she will continue to be a resource to help the program continue to be successful. “It is a volunteer program, so there is no work study position, you don’t get paid,” Flint said. “It’s solely volunteer and run by volunteer Johnson State College students.”

There are only two definite volunteer tutors this semester, Tina Gordan, who participated last semester, and Edmund Harris, who is new to the program. Also, only five Laraway students currently participate in the homework club, although it is eligible to all Laraway students who are in the Laraway Substitute Care program.

Raleigh also encourages those eligible to participate. Robinson hopes that the program will be able to expand to include more Laraway youth, as well as more JSC volunteers. “At some point it would be ideal to expand to other schools; however, we are still trying to see what works and are trying to recruit more JSC students who will keep the program running,” Robinson said. “We don’t want to take on more than we can handle until the program is well manned and well established.”

Those interested in volunteering can sign up with Sam Flint by visiting the Mentoring Lounge (Stearns 411), emailing, or calling ext. 1287.

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