Engage Families & Community profile – Brooks Center for STEM & the Arts

MS. HAWKS: “So you hav
just Y equals? So what does this mean?” I’m Joni Hawks. I am, in a sense, the Volunteer Coordinator at Brooks, although that’s not the term we use. I run our tutoring and
mentoring program which meets
at lunch. I do A-SAC, After School
Academic Coaching three days a
week after school. I wear a lot of hats here. I work very closely
with our PTSO. I work with our Site Council. But my role here is really to
work with our volunteers and community partners. First of all, our volunteers
I draw largely from WSU. we have a good connection with the Health
Professions classes. Also the National Society
of Black Engineers is a group that’s been
really supportive of our program. They come over
and tutor kids either at lunch
or after school. I did my masters
in Psych at WSU, so the psychology department
also helps me recruit students and we have several who
are coming over now doing a lunch
buddy program and they meet with
a group of students who call themselves the
Anti-social Butterflies. [laughs] I also have a number
of retired people. Today we had a retired
high school math teacher. A retired physician
was here today. I have a teacher
who’s retired from here. Just a number of people
who come and volunteer for our lunch and our
after-school program. VOLUNTEER: “Yeah, that’s right. You gotta, you want to
get rid of that fraction in the brackets.” It’s really powerful for the
kids to have someone who up for them, who
they’re not related to. That person’s not
paid to be here. They’re just here
because they care. That is a really
powerful thing for students. That they know they have an
appointment each week with a volunteer who’s coming
just to meet with them. I think, too, having the
community in our building really lets them see what
we’re doing at our school and they become advocates
for us in the community. They are able to speak to the
programs and the students we have here and I think they
are strong community advocates for what we’re doing at Brooks. VOLUNTEER: “Do you write seven to one
or seven colon one?” STUDENT: “Seven over one.” As far as our
community partners, Wichita State University
has their Trio program here. Kansas Mental Health
Association has three programs
they provide for us, Girl Empowerment,
Boys to Men and Pathways. Real Men Real Heroes is here. They started meeting last
year with a group of our sixth grade boys and
they are following them. And then we have a number
of community partners who just support us
in different ways. Faith Builders is one of those. Credit Union of America. They’re just
really supportive. When we need something, we
call them and they help out. MS. HAWKS: “Read over that so you kind of know
what to expect.” When I first started,
it was a job. One that I thought I was
pretty well suited for, but it’s definitely become
more of a calling and my favorite thing is to get
to sit down with students and actually do math with them. But I get to work with a
really good team of people. I interface with our
staff, with our teachers, our volunteers, with students. I get to see every one, and
I feel that it’s a really… we do good work here. MS. HAWKS: “We’re really going
for comprehension here…” I think it’s important for
schools to have a point person whose job it is to
take care of volunteers. When I first started I
had a volunteer who said, you know, he had
volunteered at another school, he said, but when I went I sat
for an hour and a half with nothing to do, and that
doesn’t happen intentionally. It happens because it was no
one’s job to make sure that volunteer was taken care of. So I do think to have someone
whose job it is to take care of volunteers is important. But it is also
definitely a group effort. It’s the person who greets
people when they come in. It’s teachers making
sure students get their passes
to come to me. It’s teachers
making referrals. I think it’s important
to have a point person, but it definitely is a
group effort to bring in the community and
to support your families and to support
your volunteers.

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