Something that never ceases to amaze me at Columbia Business School (CBS) is how committed my classmates are to giving back to the community. There are so many organizations on campus that work with both local and global partners to make a positive contribution in the lives of others. Students at Columbia make an impact on a daily basis through initiatives such as Pangea Student Advisors, Microlumbia Fund, and I-Prep.
One such activity that I am involved with is the Harlem Tutorial Program. With younger siblings, it has always been a natural instinct of mine to invest in personal and academic mentoring. I volunteered as a tutor/mentor via non-profits and formal programs in college, and so joining an organization with a similar purpose was a given for me when I came to CBS.
This year, the group has partnered with KIPP Star, a charter school in Harlem. We work with 5th – 8th grade students on their homework, academic preparedness, and study skills. The administrators have a great system of discipline and motivation, and the kids are always pleasant and respectful. CBS students pick a day, Monday – Thursday, and commit to tutoring every week on that day for one hour. Although tutoring is sometimes the most tiring (junior high algebra and physics really require you to strain dormant parts of your brain!) hour of the week, it is certainly the most rewarding. The kids are always eager to chitchat and to play with our smartphones, and we do our best to make learning fun. They know quite a bit about colleges as they are assigned to groups named after major universities such as Columbia, Duke, and UCLA (go Bruins!), so we make sure to spend time talking about their educational and career aspirations.
We have great plans to expand this program in the near future. Outside of the classroom, we’re working on organizing social and enrichment events for the tutors and tutees in the city. We hope to be not just academic tutors but also positive role models in their lives. It only takes a little bit of time to make a big impact, and I encourage all of you who join the CBS community to participate in this great program!