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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

November 4, 1998
Leslie Rice, lnr@jhu.edu

Tutorial Project Turns 40
The most important thing I did in college
was my work in the Tutorial Project.

--Waquar Hasib, (`97),
New York City's district attorney's office

Since 1958, the Tutorial Program at The Johns Hopkins University has become part of the heart and soul of many of its students college experience. Year after year, Hopkins students volunteer two afternoons a week to tutor inner city elementary school children. Program director Weslie Wornum says students find those afternoons, working with a child, lifts them through the week and puts their own work and worries into perspective.

One of the oldest and longest running campus tutoring programs in the country, this year the Tutorial Project enters its fifth decade. It celebrates its anniversary 5 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19 in Levering Hall with a special tribute to the Rev. Chester Wickwire, the legendary Hopkins chaplain, who started the Tutorial Program during the Civil Rights movement. Wickwire was a tireless anti-segregationist who designed the volunteer program as a way for Hopkins students, at the time mostly white and male, to meet and interact with black Baltimore families.

In those days, Wickwire sent Hopkins students out into poor areas of the city as tutors and mentors to black teenage boys. A few years later, he decided that at-risk students needed early intervention and changed its focus to the elementary school grades. Later, the children were bused by the city from their schools to the Homewood campus.

Now the students come from some of the most impoverished parts of the city. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, 50 children come from Southwest Baltimore and on Mondays and Fridays, 50 arrive from East Baltimore. Each Hopkins volunteer is trained in a phonics-based reading program and in early math. They will work with one child all year. Along with the benefits of individualized learning and mentoring, Wornum says there are immeasurable positive effects on the children when they have a learning experience on a college setting.

The effects on the Hopkins students when they volunteer is also immeasurable.

This gives the students something to focus on besides themselves or their grades, says Rebecca DuLaney, a junior at Hopkins and volunteer coordinator for the tutorial project. Hopkins can be a high-stress environment, and it can be easy to get locked into our own problems and consumed with all the work we have to do. Working with these children, we realize that some people have problems far more profound than our own and it gives us a perspective of the world outside our campus.

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