Undergraduate Student Blog, Speaking of Princeton

Undergraduate Student Blog

Author: Jenesis Fonseca-Ledezma ’14

Los Angeles • English View Profile

One-on-One Tutoring

In the nation's service, one mentee at a time

I tutor and mentor because I understand the importance of encouragement and guidance. As a first-generation college student, I know that even a few kind words of advice can make all the difference between giving up and doing one’s best despite difficulties.

During high school, I spent my spare time tutoring elementary school students at local community centers and knew that I wanted to continue tutoring in college.

I learned about One-on-One Tutoring my freshman year. My friend Gracie ’13, who was an active mentor at the time, reached out to let me know that the program needed someone to tutor a kindergartener. I had a brief interview with the program’s senior community partner and started tutoring right away!

One-on-One Tutoring is a program sponsored by Princeton’s Student Volunteer Council (SVC), a student-led organization that sponsors more than 40 hands-on, direct service volunteer projects that operate weekly with community organizations in Princeton, Trenton, and surrounding areas. It offers many service opportunities and gives undergrads support to start innovative projects of their own.

One-on-One Tutoring, in particular, is an opportunity for young Princeton women to create and maintain a positive mentor-mentee relationship with girls of Latin-American background who live in Princeton. As a mentoring and tutoring program that matches Princetonians with girls from local elementary and middle schools, One-on-One provides weekly help with reading, study skills, and homework and more! In many cases (like my own) mentors spend their entire undergraduate career tutoring the same girl.

 

Image of school supplies and Tati's tutoring folder
One-on-One tutoring provides many school supplies and educational games to ensure that the girls have everything they need for a great tutoring session.

When I first met Tati, she was in Kindergarten. She was learning how to read and write words like “the,” “cat,” and “red,” and now she is in third grade, loves to read, writes in cursive, and says that Language Arts is her favorite subject. Our meetings are always the best. She is absolutely brilliant and loves to tell me stories about her friends, her nephew, and her puppy. If she finishes her homework early, she likes to make colorful cards for her friends and family and enjoys teaching me the lyrics to her favorite songs (including many by Taylor Swift…)

One-on-One Tutoring has given me the opportunity to teach, encourage, and inspire. It has also given me the opportunity to learn. I see tutoring Tati for the last few years as part of a larger accomplishment, including an increase in Latina/os who are pursuing a higher education.

One-on-One Tutoring is a reminder that being “in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations” can consist of reviewing the alphabet, reading colorful chapter books, and going over basic arithmetic with someone sweet and adorable.