Where to Volunteer This Week: Leadership and Scholarship Partnership

February 2, 2012
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Antioch College, a private liberal arts college in Yellow Spring, Ohio, is waiving the tuition for all students who enroll in the next three years. And students who qualify for financial aid are eligible to either skip the cost for room and board, or pay a reduced fee. Although a financial risk for the school, it affords students who might otherwise not be able to attend college an intellectual advantage, something a local organization hopes for Charlestown students.

There is a group at the Harvard Kent School called the Leadership and Scholarship Partnership. The Kent School is home to more than 500 diverse students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The purpose of the organization is to encourage children to work towards a college degree since most Kent students live below the poverty level and don’t speak English as  their primary language. Through the program, six students are awarded $1,000 every year. The funds are deposited into accounts for the children until they are college-bound.

“The students compete for these scholarships and the winners become a member of the H-K Leaders/Scholars Club,” said Rosemary Kverek, the board’s secretary.  “As of last May, we have awarded $36,000 worth of scholarships. The group was organized by Petie Hilsinger, a Charlestown resident, and it is a very successful program. Petie just received a plaque in her honor in the school.”

The organization also provides special programming for students, including educational intervention programs for students at risk for academic failure. With the extra programming, skilled teachers are able to work with students in small groups, working on any areas that need improvement. Students are also taken on educational field trips.   “The students who become part of the club are taken on special trips, including the turning around of the USS Constitution, Plymouth Plantation, the Harbor Islands, the JFK Museum, and ice skating at Frog Pond,” said Kverek, who greatly enjoys working with the children.

At the end of the school year, there is a large party at the Boys and Girls Club on a Sunday afternoon, where teachers, students and their families come together. “All 36 winners and the six new ones from 2012 are invited and it is a pot luck dinner,” Kverek said. “The children can bring their families and also bring a dish from their native country to share with everyone. “It is a wonderful event and the foods are great,” she added.

The Leadership and Scholarship Partnership is looking for volunteers to work with scholarship recipients in club meetings and on field trips, and help is always needed with fundraising, event planning, and communications. To contribute or volunteer, e-mail info@harvardkentpartnership.org.