Four afternoons a week, volunteer tutors fill up our writing labs to work with students on their homework, reading, and writing. Without these volunteers, our After-School Tutoring program simply would not succeed. At the core of this amazing team of tutors lies a new group called Centaur Club. And while I wish, so deeply, that Centaur Club was a regularly scheduled meeting of horse/human hybrids, the reality is even better.
Centaur Club for tutoring is a group of ultra-dedicated folks, who have committed to supporting tutoring in the most helpful way we can ask: by coming in consistently, once a week. To honor their commitment, Centaurs receive a permanent nametag, which they wear, proudly, on their day-of-the-week. The nametags are all mounted on the walls of the writing lab, which provide a rainbow of recognition, a tactile shout-out to some of our best.
Anyone is welcome and invited to become a Centaur Club member, but to do so they must commit to come to tutoring at least once a week for six weeks, which is the length of a publishing cycle. (How convenient!) What this means is that in addition to providing much needed tutor support in the lab, they’re also following their student’s writing for publication in a chapbook from start to finish: they start their cycle the week our new book topic is announced, and they finish up the week of our book release party. Centaur Club members see students through brainstorming; first drafts, trashed drafts, and even more drafts; revisions; story transcription; applause as students put their finished stories into the box on the wall; and, finally, they get to cheer on their students as they read the stories out of the final, published book.
This is a new initiative, but it’s quickly catching on. Forty-one volunteers joined Centaur Club for the first publishing cycle! In addition to the pride and satisfaction we hope our Centaurs feel, they also get some pretty nifty rewards: nametags, for one, but also invitations to fun celebrations, prizes, and more.
And maybe someday, we’ll get an actual centaur to come visit.
Click here if you’re interested in volunteering with 826LA!