Study Buddies Looks to Expand Mentoring Mission

The Study Buddies visited South Street Seaport on their annual field trip to New York.
The Study Buddies visited South Street Seaport on their annual field trip to New York.
Study Buddies is an on-campus mentoring program that in recent months has taken initiatives to expand its mission. Co-directors Pat Hodgens '09 and Ben Dropkin '11 coordinate the partnership between HAVOC and For the Good Inc., a Utica non-profit run by Kirkland alumna Cassandra Harris-Lockwood '74. 

Founded in the spring of 2003, the Study Buddies program has evolved from a straightforward tutoring program to include educational activities and college prep. Throughout the years, program coordinators have forged partnerships with other campus organizations to diversify and enrich the program.

The Study Buddies mission is simple; to provide academic help to high school and middle school students from Utica. Every other Saturday, Utica students come to the hill to participate in one-on-one tutoring sessions with Hamilton volunteers. On alternating Saturdays, the students go to a program in Utica at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

Study Buddies hopes to inspire kids to be passionate about their educational opportunities. According to co-director Pat Hodgens '09, the program allows Utica students to "gain an appreciation for the value of their schoolwork as well as college and form a bond with a positive role-model."

Multiple on-campus organizations have since become involved with the program, allowing for students to participate in a wide-array of activities that help to foster their interest in education. For example, the Chemistry Society presented a demonstration to the students on liquid nitrogen ice cream, an activity that proved to both educational and enjoyable. The fraternity La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., has also approached Study Buddies with an interest in creating a partnership between the fraternity and the tutored boys. The fraternity expressed interest in extending their bi-weekly involvement to meet every week outside of the Study Buddies program.

In 2008-2009, the program received a large donation from actor Adrien Brody and has used that generous contribution to further the program's development. One particular aspect of the development includes the recent participation of Utica College in the program, made possible by the community organizer of For the Good Inc, Abby Getman. Due to the new extension of the program at Utica College, participating students in the program have a place to go each Saturday to engage in educational as well as cultural activities.

Study Buddies helps students to learn and practice valuable study skills as well as to foster youth leadership by exposing them to a college environment. The program hopes to build relationships with passionate volunteers and on-campus organizations. Anyone interested in the program for next semester is encouraged to contact Pat Hodgens '09 or Ben Dropkin '11.
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