President’s Prep Tutor Program Pushes Forward with a Purpose

WASHINGTON, PA (April 19, 2013)—The Washington & Jefferson College President’s Prep Tutor Program continues to make an impact providing extra help to students at Washington Senior and Junior High School.

Ellyn Brancato, AmeriCorps PACC*VISTA member in W&J’s Office of Volunteer Services, is overseeing the program, which was established in the fall of 2011.  Twenty W&J students have devoted more than 500 hours to local students this school year. W&J students provide tutoring assistance in specific classes and through a daily after-school program.

Wendy Welsh is the club president. Other officers include Emma Church, vice president of operations; Kelsee Bainer, vice president of programming; Elizabeth Ekstrand, vice president of recruitment; Alex Howell, secretary; and Kim Phillips, treasurer, Brancato said.

“We are making progress, making a difference, and I am proud of our students. It’s the little things that matter,” Brancato said. “And we have the backing and support of the teachers and the school district.”

Emily Necciai is a junior English major from Belle Vernon, Pa. She volunteers in the after-school program and considers community service an important part of her education.

“I know how it feels to not understand something,” Necciai said. “The teachers could not be more amazing, but sometimes you need a little help. I enjoy helping students get up from what they thought was the bottom, to show them how to use their skills to become even smarter.”

Necciai has spent time as a W&J student volunteering at the LeMoyne Center and volunteered at Mon Valley Hospital as a high school student.

Washington High School juniors Keith Brown and Cordell Harper both agree the extra assistance from the President’s Prep Tutor Program has made a difference.

Brown said, “it’s a good program. It has helped me keep my grades up last year and this year.”

The Pennsylvania Campus Compact (PACC) VISTA program seeks to develop and support community service, service-learning, and civic engagement programs at higher education institutions by placing AmeriCorps*VISTA members at colleges and universities across Pennsylvania. PACC*VISTA members work to bridge campus and community through projects in the areas of tutoring and mentoring, food access, and college access.