Saint Columbkille Partnership School has a strong relationship with Boston College, and this year is no exception, even with the coronavirus. For years, Boston College students, as part of the 4Boston service organization, have volunteered as tutors at Saint Columbkille after school. This year, out of an abundance of caution for the COVID-19 pandemic, BC students are not allowed into the building.
Melinda Bouras, Saint Columbkille’s Student Support Coordinator, worked diligently with the 4Boston organization to ensure Saint Cols students in Grades 5-8 could continue to receive the outstanding tutoring of years past. Ms. Bouras coordinated with student leaders of the organization to schedule weekly Zoom meetings with each BC student volunteer and match them with STCPS students according to subject and availability.
“Despite COVID and all the changes they were working with at BC with their own schedule, they were eager and ready to go,” says Ms. Bouras. “Some of the tutors were asking if they could work with specific students that they tutored last year in study hall. It meant a lot to me that the tutors had built up a connection with our students.”
The 4Boston organization has partnered with Saint Columbkille for many years. With years of continued collaboration, Saint Cols and 4Boston have assisted countless students in after-school tutoring at the middle school level.
“I recognize that all children develop differently and at their own pace,” says Ms. Bouras. “I am passionate about empowering students, and, as one of our close partners, 4Boston helps us accomplish that goal.”
Additionally, the partnership has provided a positive volunteer experience for BC students. Overall, 4Boston volunteers serve four hours each week of the academic year with community partners in the social service, healthcare, or education sectors and engage in one hour of group reflection centered on community, social justice, and spirituality. With more than 700 BC student participants and 40 partner organizations, 4Boston relies on an annual cohort of Student Leaders to lead reflection groups, coordinate volunteers, and support ongoing communication with community partners.