Buddies Build a Brighter Future

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” This quote by none other than Dr. Seuss is exactly the kind of vision Director Jibril Bob and Assistant Director Amanda Ramirez-Sebree try to promote in their program Study Buddies at Youth Educational Services. Throughout the week Director Jibril Bob and Assistant Director Amanda Ramirez-Sebree, along with their volunteer group, offer students throughout the community homework help, one-on-one tutoring, and lead group art and science activities at local schools and centers. In total Study Buddies has 12-15 volunteers in their program that work either at Trillium Elementary, Pacific Union, or at Jefferson Community Center’s afterschool program. They also offer free tutoring for families and children that can’t afford private tutoring at the HSU library. 
 
Assistant Director Amanda Ramirez-Sebree, previously the director for 3 semesters past, says she has seen Study Buddies create a great impact on students’ lives and their academic performance. She told of a student who, upon entering their program, did not know how to read at all. Over a year and a half’s time Amanda has been able to witness the exponential progress this student has made in learning how to read, with the help of Amanda and her fellow volunteers. This student, now in 4th grade is reading several books at a time thanks to the help of her Study Buddies.
 
Study Buddies
 
In fact, Study Buddies stands out in its dedication to serving students who may be perceived special needs, differently abled, or just “deficient” in some academic regard. Amanda, who has experience working with special needs students, by way of her mother who is a special needs teacher, says they acknowledge that instead of getting help most of these students instead get ignored by teaching professionals or school programs. Local kids in schools in the area surrounding Jefferson Community Center are especially vulnerable to this treatment. Study Buddies, however, makes no excuse and puts their best foot forward when it comes to working with all of their students to help them improve and succeed. 
 
Jabril Bob says beyond the academic improvements they get to witness in working with these children, the volunteers also serve as important role models and mentors for their participants that, “students can rely on for advice... they become really attached to volunteers”. Amanda agreed saying, “You can really tell that you’re making an impact on them. They’re very appreciative and they will tell you how much you’ve changed their life.”