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Students have started a new club that will provide tutoring to elementary school students in Knox County. The Volunteers Tutoring Club places members in local elementary schools to work with children who need additional assistance, but whose families cannot afford to hire a private tutor.

Each volunteer will be assigned to two or three students and will guide them in accomplishing reading assignments and other work.

So far, the club has established a program at Inskip Elementary School and is working with two other elementary schools in Knox County with plans to establish programs by the end of the semester. Tutoring sessions take place from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week. Student tutors volunteer on the same day every week and work with the same children in order to create consistency for the kids.

Club president Matthew Feldman, a junior studying neuroscience, said club members not only want to help the kids succeed academically, but they also want to see them excel in every aspect of life.

“We can be role models for them and help them more than just academically,” Feldman said. “We can create relationships with them and model good behavior for them to follow.”

Club vice president Carlos Mancilla, a junior studying psychology, can relate to the educational situation many students at Inskip Elementary School may be facing. English was his second language and he struggled with reading and writing. When a tutoring program like this one became available for him, however, it made all the difference.

“Had those resources not been available to me, I think my life could have turned out a lot differently,” Mancilla said. “It really motivated me and made me passionate for school.”

Club leaders hope that this program will help the elementary school students improve their grades and instill them with a passion for learning that will bring future success.

The Volunteers Tutoring Club was co-founded by Feldman and Mancilla. After its approval in January of this year, the club has already reached its capacity for Inskip of 30 members. Feldman reports that it is set to expand to more schools in the near future, however, and is in need of more volunteers.

If you are interested in joining the club, please contact Ameera Bhatti at abhatti@vols.utk.edu.