MoCo Students Mentor Young Learners at William Penn Elementary

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MoCo Students Mentor Young Learners at William Penn Elementary

The front of William Penn Elementary School, where students go to volunteer; Photo Courtesy of: basdwpweb.beth.k12.pa.us

The front of William Penn Elementary School, where students go to volunteer; Photo Courtesy of: basdwpweb.beth.k12.pa.us

The front of William Penn Elementary School, where students go to volunteer; Photo Courtesy of: basdwpweb.beth.k12.pa.us

The front of William Penn Elementary School, where students go to volunteer; Photo Courtesy of: basdwpweb.beth.k12.pa.us

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Since 2014, Moravian has offered a mentoring program that pairs college students with pupils at William Penn Elementary School. William Penn is located right down the street from Moravian. The school educates children in Kindergarten up to fifth grade. 

The goal of the mentoring program is to have a Moravian undergrad work one-on-one with a William Penn student. Mentoring typically happens once a week for about thirty minutes depending on the students’ schedule. Mentors provide support and guidance and serve as  positive role models for their mentees. 

Students help mentees with homework, work with them in the classroom, and play games with them. 

TahLea Wright, a junior special education major at Moravian, has been in the mentoring program for two years. She’s gained a lot from the experience.

“I like having a one-on-one connection with the student,” she said. “It allows me to see their needs and how I can help them. I also love the connection I am able to make with the teacher. They inform me of the subjects that the student may be struggling with.” 

Through the mentoring program, Wright learned that she wanted to be a teacher. “Meeting with your mentee once a week goes a long way,” she said.

Greer Hockemeier, the community school coordinator at William Penn, works to match Moravian students with William Penn students who need extra support inside and outside the classroom. 

“William Penn Elementary School has a poverty rate of approximately 80%,” Hockemeier said. “This high number brings our students a variety of challenges.  Our students deal with food insecurity, homelesness and housing instability, lack of access to extracurricular activities or sports and a lack of positive mentors or caring adults. The mentoring program gives select elementary students the opportunity to spend 30 to 45 minutes a week with a caring young adult who gives them one-on-one support and attention. We are so thankful to the Moravian College students who volunteer their time each week to spend time with our students.  It truly does make a difference in the lives of these kids.”  

 If interested in the mentoring program, contact Hockemeier at William Penn or through Moravian’s  Career and Civic Engagement Center.