Rutgers club empowers grade school students
The first and second grade students of Roosevelt Elementary School can thank the Youth Empowerment Club for new tutoring programs this year.
The Youth Empowerment Club hopes to improve the education of New Brunswick students by creating a curriculum and teaching them valuable lessons, said Eshan Kaul, the club president and a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore.
“The goal of the club is to support Youth Empowerment Services, which is a non-profit in New Brunswick," Kaul said. "We help run a tutoring program called A2E, which is being founded this semester."
The tutoring program will be available to 50 students at the elementary school, and it will help strengthen the relationship between Rutgers students and the City of New Brunswick's youth, said Ansley Kunnath, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Kunnath said she hopes to build up the local New Brunswick community through education, and the focus is on “empowering children instead of trying to fix them."
The club is composed of a group of people who truly care about the kids in the Hub City and challenge themselves to ask how the community can be helped in the most responsible and constructive way, said Riley Link, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
“I think the greatest value we promote is a sense of humility along with a sense of community," said Link, who serves as the group's vice president. "We do not have all the answers, but we will be there to support our community in the best way we possibly can."
Kaul, who volunteered at the Youth Empowerment Services during his first year, said he saw that the kids want to learn.
“It’s incredible how much they want to learn, but they just don’t have the resources all of the time,” he said.
Kunnath said it is important for students to take opportunities to make a difference in someone's life.
“I've always had a passion for learning, and I want to share that with other children," Kunnath said. "It's also surprising that there aren't really any after-school tutoring programs at the scale of A2E currently in place."
Kunnath said all members are determined and passionate about the program, which in turn is rewarding for the child as well as the volunteer.
The executive board believes that the University is not currently doing enough to show support for the residents of New Brunswick.
“Rutgers is all like ‘Oh, we’re part of New Brunswick. This is our community,’” Kaul said. “But what do we do to give back? We don’t really give back. These kids don’t get what they deserve.”
The club has undergone many changes in the past year, presenting a few challenges, Link said.
“Our main issue right now is simply that we need to hit the ground running," Link said. "The club’s goals and members are all new this semester and although we will have much to learn, I cannot wait to see the club evolve and work in the community."
Kaul said she believes this new direction will prove greatly beneficial for the future of the club by taking a more hands on approach. The group has created a new committee system and goal for this year.
“(Things are) completely different. We want to make sure that we’re adding to youth empowerment services and not just supporting them. We want to make sure that we are being active in the community,” Kaul said.
The club is recruiting as new members, Kaul said. They are looking for committed members who care about the community, since last year’s commitment was low.
“Even if you can't volunteer, you can help fundraise, plan activities, oversee volunteers and more,” Kunnath said.
Nicole Osztrogonacz is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in English. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Find her on Twitter @nikki_osz for more.