At Belmont Savings Bank (“BSB”), we care about the people, local shops, nonprofit organizations and family-owned businesses that comprise the vibrant towns we serve. The missions and endeavors of these individuals and organizations enrich and inspire us daily. As a thank you for their hard work, diligence and ingenuity, we’re dedicating a series of blog posts to spotlight some of the individuals behind the programs, events and businesses that make these towns special.
The personal and academic achievements of a community’s youngest residents can directly influence the future success of the town. For more than 50 years, Tutoring Plus of Cambridge has been working hard to ensure that the academic, personal and social growth of Cambridge’s children has the attention it so deserves.
With the assistance of volunteers and community partners, the organization provides free tutoring and mentoring programs for more than 175 students in grades 3-12. Many of the 150 volunteers who make the service possible live or work in Cambridge. The students benefit from the various backgrounds and interests of the volunteers, who often rely on their own education and career experiences to mentor, teach and influence. The group tries to match students with volunteers who share common academic backgrounds and personalities.
Ultimately, Tutoring Plus aims to close the education and opportunity gap within the town of Cambridge. The nonprofit got its start in 1964 when a group of neighborhood mothers launched a partnership with a group of MIT students to provide in-home tutoring services.
Kathryn Fennemen stepped into her new role as executive director in November 2014, after serving as manager of volunteer services and site manager. She is charged with the duty of developing and implementing the organization’s strategic plans to promote programmatic and financial sustainability and growth.
Kathryn relies on years of experience working with youth, families and volunteers both domestically and internationally, as well as what she gathered in a dual master’s degree program in Sustainable International Development & Coexistence and Conflict Studies at Brandeis University.
Carson, a longtime volunteer tutor with Tutoring Plus, recently accepted a new role as a member of the Board of Directors in December 2014. Carson has been instrumental in community outreach and engagement, even encouraging her own children to serve as volunteers. Her daughter Olivia Treanor, a 2014 graduate of Belmont High School, received the Tutoring Plus Unsung Hero Award in 2013 for her outstanding service as a volunteer tutor.
Belmont Savings Bank Foundation gave a grant to sponsor Tutoring Plus’s annual fundraiser, an important source of funding that allows Tutoring Plus to continue to pursue its goals in the community. This year’s event, held in February, featured a tropical theme, live music, children’s displays and a tribute to Fay Lamson Hannon’s 10 years of service as president of the Tutoring Plus Board of Directors.
In addition to the one-on-one tutoring and mentoring services, the organization offers four enrichment programs focused on science, engineering, math and media literacy for girls. To coincide with this initiative, Belmont Savings Bank is opening its doors for a student field trip that will include a tour and a financial literacy class. The bank field trip will be incorporated into the Math Plus enrichment program for fourth and fifth grade students.
“Partnering with BSB has been a great experience,” Fennemen shares. Looking forward to the bank field trips, she says: “Financial literacy is an important skill for our students to start developing at an early age.”
Tutoring Plus’s enrichment programs culminate with a field trip, such as the one to Belmont Savings Bank, in order to connect classroom learning to real-world applications. “Our community partners are key players in helping us make these important connections,” Fennemen explains.