GREENVILLE – In the past 12 months 97 Edison State communication students have provided 3,469 hours of service to their communities. They participated in the Empowering Darke County Youth After School and Summer Tutoring programs, and teams went off campus to talk to young people about bullying and the dangers of drugs abuse. In addition, one team each semester chose to talk to adults about bullying and literacy at the Greenville Public Library.
“The Fundamentals of Communications class is about being able to ‘provide’ information, such as academic skills or life-changing choices, to a diverse audience,” Edison adjunct instructor Bob Robinson said. “There are few audiences more diverse than elementary and middle school students. These kids are different ages, have different skills and attitudes, and come from different backgrounds and life experiences. The academic challenges they may need to overcome are as unique as they are.
“My students understand this. They learn the skills they need to help each student; they also understand the role they play in a student’s right to learn and are able to work as team members with a clear purpose. They are role models that younger students can look up to. It’s a communications experience that cannot be duplicated in a textbook or classroom.”
Edison State’s High school (College Credit Plus) students come from every school district in the county, while adult students come from a variety of Darke County communities. In the tutoring program, they work under the supervision of experienced tutors and substitute teachers.
This is a unique program among the wide offerings at Edison State Community College, one in which Chad Beanblossom, vice president regional campuses, has been strongly supportive.
“As always, Edison State students spend an extensive amount of time volunteering in our community,” Beanblossom said. “Their hours spent with the Empowering Darke County Youth Program and working with local youth is just as valuable to our students as it is to those they serve.”
The tutoring community service is strongly recommended, but not required, according to Robinson. “Students who are unable to resolve time or schedule conflicts have the option of completing a research project and taking a final exam, which the tutoring project is intended to replace. Some students have also completed their tutoring hours in their home school districts under the supervision of a classroom teacher.”
The team presentations are required, and typically take 20 or more hours of preparation, both inside and outside of class. They are the eighth and final speech of the semester, and are scheduled during the final week in lieu of class attendance.
“After weeks of preparation, practice in class tends to get stale,” Robinson noted. “However, once they find themselves in front of middle school students, they are ready. They ‘get into it’ and are typically graded 9.5 or 10 out of 10 by the students’ teachers. The preparation and skills they learned throughout the course pay off.”
Edison State students are nervous, and some complain, about the Empowering tutoring requirement. They are given the opportunity to evaluate the program and assignment at the end of the semester. In three years, only two students out of more than 200 have failed to see the value of the time they have spent.
“One student made his thoughts known at the beginning of the term,” Robinson said. “They weren’t positive. By the end of the term he continued helping even after his commitment was completed. In his evaluation, he said, ‘Thank you for the great opportunity to work with these kids.’”
Since its inception, the Empowering tutoring programs have provided over 15,000 hours to 612 students in every school district in Darke County. Edison State students have contributed nearly a third of those hours. If you would like more information about the Empowering programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to Facebook.