What are Cambridge School Volunteers' guiding principles and values?
In 1966, a few Cambridge parents organized to shelve books in school libraries. Soon, teachers began requesting volunteers to work with students in the classroom, and Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV) grew. Today, we recruit, train, and manage over 650 volunteer tutors and mentors who work each year with more than 1,2000 students across Cambridge’s eleven elementary schools, four middle schools, one K-8 Spanish/English dual-immersion school, and one high school, CRLS. Our goal is to help all Cambridge Public School students receive the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed.
CSV aligns with the Cambridge Public School District’s academic, social-emotional, and equity objectives. Our programs supporting students in PreK– Grade 12 are free for students and families and meet at the student’s school before, during, or after school to facilitate access for all.
Reducing the opportunity gap by supporting students' academic and personal success is foundational to our work. We destigmatize asking for help because everyone needs help at some point, and we empower students to be advocates for their education. CSV’s work toward a more equitable education system is an ongoing process.
We are incredibly grateful for the relationships we’ve built with our community partners – the individuals and companies – in Cambridge. They provide us with volunteer and financial support. We view what we do as a community-building effort that enriches students' lives and the volunteers who work with them. The students tutored by our community members today will one day join them in the workforce. When the bonds between community members are strong, our community benefits overall.
What are the ongoing services or programs that you provide?
Our trained volunteers work with students of all needs and levels – before, during, or after school – so that all students can get the academic and social-emotional support they need to succeed. From elementary math and literacy programs like Reading Buddies and Scratch to college essay help in our College & Career Mentoring Program, our volunteers work with students 1:1 or in small groups to boost skills and confidence at no cost to students and families.
Are there any upcoming projects, initiatives, or events that your organization would like others to know about?
We are always looking for volunteers for our programs and to fulfill the requests we get from teachers for classroom support. Currently, we need Reading Buddies to read to 1st and 2nd Graders at Fletcher Maynard Academy; tutors for our Afterschool Learning Centers for students in grades 6-8; and tutors for the Tutoring Center at CRLS, which meets before and after school. You can learn more by going to our website.
Please share a recent story/event that embodies the work of your organization.
This is a testimonial from a teaching in the Rindge School of Technical Arts. This fall, we placed volunteers to work with students on the safety modules they need to pass before they can begin work in their culinary, automotive, and other classes.
"Cambridge School Volunteers has been incredibly helpful finding tutors to support my students. As a special educator, I rely on support systems within the school to provide tutoring help before and after school hours. In addition to my caseload, I have also relied on the volunteer tutors to help our diverse scholars with reading online safety exams in their vocational classes at the beginning of each semester. Their continued support helping my students with reading, writing, mathematics, and organization has resulted in my students passing the MCAS exams and feeling more confident in their abilities and academic goals."