In Florence, a network of college students helps children who have fallen behind in school because of DaD

An association in Florence has launched a project for the little ones: a network of college students helping elementary and middle school children who have fallen behind in school because of DaD.

University students who volunteer to help their younger “colleagues” in elementary and middle schools who have fallen behind due to the introduction of distance learning (DaD), a tool that has not been easy for many to follow: this is the soul of the Students4Students project launched by the Florentine association Le Mille e una Rete, founded by Alessia De Vescovi and Chiara Robimarga. The first phase of the project was tested during the first “lockdown,” and now the association is ready to take a small leap forward, with the goal of creating a network of fifty university students who, as early as January, can lend a hand to schoolchildren who have fallen behind and are therefore struggling to attend classes.

The project will make use of the collaboration of the City of Florence and will start with five schools in as many Florentine neighborhoods. Students who will benefit from the network’s help will be referred by the institutions, and the association will pair each of them with a tutor who will help the child on his or her way through school. At the moment, the service will be provided remotely, but the idea of the two founders is to later switch to in-person tutoring as well, and to extend it to high school students as well.

The tutoring service, which will be aimed especially at children from difficult backgrounds or who need to be tutored for reasons of individual difficulties, will be free of charge, and, for university students who volunteer(it will be voluntary), training credits will be recognized, since the association has entered into an agreement with the University of Florence.

The “pilot phase” of the project, that of the first lockdown, was greatly appreciated by both the tutors and the families of the children helped. “For me, it was a wonderful training and volunteer experience,” says Betty, a university student who served as a tutor. “As for the positive aspects, definitely the chance to put my time in the service of others and help a working mom struggling with this strange period of forced isolation. Negative aspects, on the other hand, were the shaky Internet connection and the limited computer screen that did not allow us to check what the child was actually writing. In any case, together we managed to overcome these minor difficulties so overall I am satisfied with this course and would certainly do it again. I am also very happy with the fact that between me and the child I tutored a relationship was created that goes beyond tutoring and borders on friendship and sincere affection.” She is echoed by colleague Ophelia, who has regularly tutored two children: “They have involved me in their school reality and shared passions and hobbies outside of that reality. Not only did they continue to learn what they should have learned between the desks, but they also enthusiastically approached some subjects and re-teached me things that with the passing of the years one tends to put into oblivion; so I thank them in turn and am very grateful for all that we have and are building together.” This, on the other hand, is the comment of Giulia, a young mom: “although my son has recently started doing homework with Valeria, I can already say that your project is brilliant! The young tutors place themselves for these age groups in the right balance between the two extremes of super-qualified people but recalling the rigor of teachers and peer education. I wish I had been activated earlier!”

Anyone who wants to learn more about the project can reach the association’s website, or link to its Facebook page.

In Florence, a network of college students helps children who have fallen behind in school because of DaD
In Florence, a network of college students helps children who have fallen behind in school because of DaD

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