Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tutelage follow-up

Some time ago, I posted a blog regarding “Tutelage” and some upcoming, developing projects from the Education Program. We got some of our own ideas for a tutoring program, but we thought it best to look for the professionals in the “biz” to look for advice. Thus, a few days ago (last Thursday) we visited 826 Seattle, a drop-in writing/tutoring center in Greenwood. They’re roughly a mile or so away from the Phinney Center. Myself and uber-volunteer Cheryl...—also a contributor to this blog—were assigned as the envoy to the PNA to 826. Their place was pretty cool—it’s a “space travel” shop with a tutoring center in the back. I only recently found out... it was 826 simply by chance several weeks ago. I was in the Greenwood area eating lunch (Mr. Gyros!!!) when I passed by the “space travel shop” and noticed on a tiny corner of the windows was the sign “826 Writing Center”. I was shocked because (for other reasons) I’ve been trying so hard for the past several months to find 826’s location and it was right under my nose the entire time. Thank you, location-of-Mr.-Gyro’s-so-I-can-spot-826! =p

Anyway, Cheryl and I met their programming coordinator, Toffer (not “Topher”, heheheh) at 826. Great guy, very good sense of humor.

We learned a lot about their drop-in system of tutoring. Learned lots of great ideas about what the PNA’s tutoring program should and should not be. By no means are we trying to “compete” with these folks (in fact, check their website, it’s just that we want to see where this program can possibly take us if we do implement it next year.

Now, let’s turn the clock back 24 hours before that Thursday. That Wednesday we had an ice cream social/meet ‘n greet for the Filpino Alumni Chapter of Seattle University and our mentorship program. This is because I’ve developed a similar program at my old college (SU), except it focuses more on mentoring Filipino American undergrads rather than actual tutoring. I had a wonderful time—I finally met my “protégé”, a psychology major named Pauline (I was a psych major, too). She’s smart and funny and we hit it off quite well that night. We had a blast getting to know each and we barely even mentioned “psychology” I look forward guiding her as mentor, even though my “psychology skills” aren’t up to snuff lately. hahahah

Now you’re thinking: drop-in writing centers? Ice cream socials? Filipino American alumni at Jesuit colleges? Space Travel boutiques? Rex! You’re totally deviating from the main topic—PHINNEY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION!!!

Well, think about it—if we indeed have this Tutoring Program for the PNA, think of the wonderful benefits that might happen. I think the “spirit of mentorship” can be applied to our little Education project next year. Perhaps, it’s not so much about teaching people a skill, or help write an college entrance essay or do calculus. Maybe—just maybe—it’s about neighbors who can identify with other neighbors through similar interests, skill sets or challenges that they can connect and build their own sense of community. Going back to my mentorship example, I feel that my protégé Pauline didn’t necessarily need someone to help her study for various psych tests, nor help her in her research. Maybe we just need someone who can relate and acknowledge our interests and challenges as a human being. I think we just need that someone to recognize us, even though we might be the students, the protégés, the neophytes.

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