H.O.P.E. Tutoring Offers Enriching Volunteer Experiences

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Two years ago, Ed Macleod was searching for a volunteer position, and not just any opportunity would do. The retired lawyer was on a quest for intellectually stimulating work that helped children. He wanted to find a nonprofit that would leverage his passion for empowering kids through education.

At the time, Macleod had volunteered with other organizations but wasn’t satisfied with his experiences. He felt underutilized and disconnected from the students he was trying to help.

A friend told him about H.O.P.E. Tutoring, a nonprofit run by educators that provides free one-on-one tutoring to Arlington children in grades three through eight. The organization primarily assists families that cannot afford private tutoring, which can run as much as $50 or $60 an hour.

After a couple of years volunteering for H.O.P.E., which stands for Helping Our Pupils Excel, Macleod sings the organization’s praises. “I’m very impressed with it. It’s run in a very orderly and insightful way, which you don’t always find,” he said.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of volunteering with H.O.P.E. is helping the community “avoid talent being squandered,” as Macleod put it. “You help someone get to the point where they can be self-regulating and pursue their own intellectual interests.”

Last school year, Macleod worked with one student, whom he describes as “perfectly competent.” All the child needed was encouragement and extra assistance with math. With Macleod’s guidance and support for one hour every week, the student was able to quickly rattle off answers to multiplication problems by year’s end, which he could not  do at the start of the school year.

What drew Macleod to H.O.P.E. is the organization’s approach to tutoring. Instead of one teacher working with many students, the one-on-one time allows for better academic achievement and gives students a personal advocate for their education. This allows tutors to sculpt a responsive program.  “I’m not aware of any other activity where 100% of your effort goes toward helping the kids, and it’s helping kids that need it and wouldn’t get it otherwise,” Macleod said.

H.O.P.E. is so popular that it ended the school year with 44 students on its waiting list, which is one reason why the organization is looking for volunteers throughout the year. Since opening its doors in 1996, H.O.P.E. volunteers have helped more than 2,400 students living in the Arlington area.

The criteria to be a H.O.P.E. volunteer is simple: One must be 16 years old or older, pass a background check and attend one training session. Better yet, the time commitment is feasible – volunteers during the school year can tutor for as little as one hour a week. The nonprofit also offers summer programs so that students’ skills don’t lapse during the summer break.

To learn more about H.O.P.E. Tutoring, visit www.hopetutoring.com or call 817-860-7757.