The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 14, 2013

Mentoring program pairs Milton Area, Bucknell University students

The Daily Item

— MILTON — Milton Middle School students Julio Seda and Nathan Hagenbuch sat with two Bucknell University students in the library after school. As they chatted about how their day went, they also reviewed math questions for an upcoming test.

Through a volunteer community service program called Bucknell Buddies, a group of Bucknell University students visit the TIES II afterschool programs at Milton Area elementary and middle schools four times a week. The Bucknellians tutor the students in reading and math and also provide general homework help.

Many of the volunteers also form strong, long-lasting relationships with the students.

“The Bucknell students have become positive role models for the Milton kids,” said Bryan Black, TIES II project coordinator.

Milton Area teacher Janet Hook agreed. “The volunteers have made a huge impact on the students’ lives,” she said. “There’s been an overall improvement in grades and morale.”

The elementary and middle school students really enjoy the company of the Bucknell Buddies. They ask questions about the college cafeteria food and what it is like to drive a car.

“They’re really fun and help you out when you get stuck with a tough homework problem,” said Michael Faux, a third-grader at Montandon Elementary School.

For Bucknell student Nikki Allison of Armonk, N.Y., the mentoring program is giving her experience and insight into her intended career as an elementary school music teacher.

“This is a great opportunity to gain real-life experience,” she said.

TIES II afterschool and summer programming provides individualized academic support, career exploration and service learning experiences that are not available during the regular school day. Programs are available for students in grades 3 to 12 who reside in the Milton Area School District.

A 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, TIES II is administered by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit.