A student job that helps the community
Jasmine Woodley has discovered a way to help pay for her education while helping others.
Woodley, a nursing student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, works as a tutor through the university’s America Reads program.
The America Reads program is coordinated through the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research.
Since she was in her first year at UWM, Woodley has been helping elementary and high school students who need some individualized attention with reading and mathematics.
She particularly enjoys working with the elementary students.
“I like being with them and seeing how excited the children are when they get an assignment done or a problem solved.
I like challenging them and showing the way,” says Woodley.
In high school, she’d volunteered as a tutor through the National Honor Society and at the Children’s Health Education Center.
She learned about UWM’s program through an information session at the university’s Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership and Research (CCBLR).
The center develops partnerships with off campus nonprofit agencies to develop jobs in the community, according to Rachel Spaulding, director of community-based learning for the center.
Students can explore and learn about the community, helping others and earning money for their own education.
Woodley’s work also counts toward 300 hours of service that she commits to as part of a scholarship she receives in the Bonner AmeriCorps Leader program.
“It’s a way of supplementing student loans and other financial aid,” she says.
A graduate of Riverside University High School, Woodley had long been familiar with nearby UWM, so when it came time to pick a university, the choice was obvious.
“It was close and I was familiar with it, and I’d heard that the nursing program was very good.”
While she enjoys working with the students as a tutor, nursing is her passion.
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse since I was in grade school.”
Her grandmother, who helped raise her, had some health issues, and Woodley helped care for her.
“I like to work with people.” Her eventual goal is to earn a graduate degree in nursing and work with a community-based clinic.
In addition to the tutoring, Woodley was able to take part in CBLLR ’s Alternative Spring Break program last year, working on projects with community agencies in North Carolina.
She enjoyed the opportunity to explore another part of the country, but was particularly impressed with the work being done by a veterans’ agency she volunteered with there.
The group had remodeled an old motel into a center for veterans, offering a training program and developing a garden. “We should have something like that here,” says Woodley. “I liked talking to the veterans about their experiences.
The program there is really helping veterans get back on their feet.”
She’s planning to take part in the Alternative Spring Break program again this year, but meanwhile is committed to her work as a tutor.
“I see a lot of kids improving their reading levels, and that’s really important.”
And, some of the students she works with at Clarke Street School are part of the “I Have a Dream” program, which will provide them with university tuition after they graduate, if they keep their grades up.
As a university student, she provides a role model for them.
“They’re really interested in college, and they’re always asking me a lot of questions about what it’s like to be in college.”