Story by Warwick Valley Central School District
Superintendent Dr. David Leach
When one hears about teenagers being described as self-centered, he or she has obviously not met Elizabeth Centorrino, Billie Finn, Cameron Quinn and Charlotte O’Connor.
These Warwick Valley High School students have been volunteering for years with the Warwick Area Migrant Committee (WAMC) and have been tutoring children of farmworker families weekly. They help the children complete homework in math, English, history and anything else that may be needed. After the children complete their homework, they get to choose playing a game or reading a book with their tutors. Relationships are formed and the children look up to these teens as their mentors.
The children have not been the only ones to benefit. The teens have found that they have also benefitted by getting to know people from different backgrounds and have developed self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Being deemed mentors has had a positive impact on these teenagers. Success at school and the knowledge that there is a bigger connection to the community are the real “wins.”
Their work as volunteers is not confined to just tutoring. Charlotte O’Connor spent last Spring coaching a group of girls from WAMC for the Girls on the Run Program. This was a larger commitment for several weeks; it had such a positive outcome. Charlotte feels that this has been a wonderful experience.
There are up to 27 students enrolled with about 20 tutors in the program. Tutors include retired teachers and community members interested in supporting the children. They meet every Wednesday afternoon at the Pine Island School throughout the year.