Knights In Need

Brittany Lovette, Reporter

The Noxen tutoring program Starry Knights is in need of student volunteers to assist young students with homework and serve as mentors.

Starry Knights works to help students in Noxen, a town roughly 10 miles away from campus. The program is open to students grades 3-6 and some are handpicked by their school principals to participate.

“Lake Noxen Elementary, where we tutor, are the Knights. We want our students to be able to succeed or ‘reach for the stars.’ As corny as it may sound, we want them to achieve success as a well-rounded individual and have the confidence to pursue their dreams,” said senior OT major Sarah Munley, Starry Knights coordinator.

According to sophomore Starry Knights coordinator Tamara Stubits, MU students don’t only tutor the students but they hold other programs to help build their self-esteem.

“What we do is, the program is really for underprivileged children and so besides just homework, just to help build their self-esteem and confidence so we pick a theme every week,” said Stubits. “We go there, play a game that goes with the theme and then we go off and have homework for like what ever homework they could possibly have.”

The themes revolve around timely events and issues, including bullying, healthy eating and friendship.

“We had a theme of friendship once and we did an obstacle course where one kid was blind folded and the other kid had to lead him through,” said Stubits.

Stubits feels tutoring at Lake Noxen Elementary School is helping her prepare for a future career in teaching.

“I hope to just help the kids along and kind of getting a little more experience with children just because I’m going to be a teacher, but then you also see some of the kids who can’t get into the program this semester because there is just too many,” she said. “You could just tell that they really want to be there so it’s a pretty rewarding experience.”

Starry Knights is looking for more members to add to its limited number so it can continue and serve future students.

“We want to get freshmen involved because there aren’t a lot involved and that’s the only way we’re really gonna continue to go,” said Stubits.

Coordinators hope to grow the program with the help of underclassmen who sign up now.

“We hope to just expand it more. I know each semester we have more and more kids wanting to sign up and maybe it could expand to more than just two days a week because I know our numbers right now are 35 kids looking for Monday and 30 looking for Tuesday, and we don’t have enough room for them,” said Stubits.

Munley said she and other students were able to receive a grant that helped initiate the program. Munley has been member since it began in 2011.

“This is the 4th semester that it will be running for and every semester it keeps getting better as well as bigger in terms of number of kids, too,” said Munley.

Munley said she is now placing her focus on the students’ education.

“The first goal was just to get ourselves established, but now we are striving to see progress in each of the students every semester,” said Munley.

The Starry Knight program is designed to not only help students with their schoolwork but to help them become well-rounded individuals.

“It’s not just a program to help kids get their homework done, it is so much more than that. We help them build interpersonal skills, confidence, healthy relationships with others, and much more,” said Munley. “We want to see them succeed outside the classroom and provide them with a healthy environment to do so in.”

This program also helps to teach the young students of MU charisms, including service.  Munley said one of her favorite memories at the program was teaching students about volunteering and helping others.

“We made ‘night time bags’ for children in foster care and included toothpaste, a book, pajamas and lots of other stuff. The kids just loved helping so much. They kept asking what else they could do and were upset when we had finished the project,” she said. “It made me feel so grateful to be given the chance to work with them and help to develop them into the wonderful kids that they are.”

Stubits decided to join Starry Knights after hearing Munley discuss the program during her First Year Experience course.

“I hope to just help the kids along and kind of getting a little more experience with children just because I’m going to be a teacher but then you also see some of the kids who can’t get into the program this semester because there is just too many,” said Stubits. “You could just tell that they really want to be there so it’s a pretty rewarding experience.”

The Starry Knights program takes place on Monday and Tuesday afternoons at Lake Noxen Elementary School. Grades 3 and 4 participate on Mondays and grades five and six on Tuesdays.

Volunteers meet  at 2:15 p.m. in Banks Student Life Center by the Campus Ministry office before they leave for Noxen. Interested students can sign up in Campus Ministry.

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