Literacy of Northern New York + math tutoring = success.
While Literacy of Northern New York mainly focuses on teaching people about words, the 200 Washington St. agencys secondary focus over the past year has been math. Executive Director M. Cecilia Brocks personal interest in math has led the agency to expand its service to the community by recruiting volunteers to teach basic math skills to people of all ages.
Its like a staircase; if you dont have the lower level, then you cant successfully do the higher-level math, Mrs. Brock said. Its one of those subjects where you either love it or hate it.
Carissa A. Mahon hates it. The Three Mile Bay resident is being tutored by 17-year-old Amelia A. Capone, a Watertown High School senior who is at the top of her class and has been accepted into Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Miss Mahon dropped out of school in the eighth grade after moving among various school districts in northern and central New York. She said she could never focus in the classroom setting, and now she hopes to get her General Educational Development certificate with Miss Capones one-on-one help.
I just turned 20, and they pushed me through school without knowing how to divide, Miss Mahon said. Amelia sat me down and taught me in a day. It irritates me that some of this doesnt make sense to me.
While shes had frustration throughout the learning process, Miss Mahon said, her two-hour tutoring session each week for the past nine months has improved her math skills. She even does practice work on her own at home.
Theres a lot to learn, still, Miss Capone said. Shes always willing and doesnt groan.
Philip M. Doldo, a sophomore at Watertown High School, tutors a 22-year-old woman who also aims to get her GED diploma.
Weve been doing a lot of fractions, and my students been doing pretty well with algebra after getting fractions down, Mr. Doldo said.
At 16, he is the youngest of 16 math tutors at Literacy of Northern New York. In the past seven months that he has been working with his student, she has progressed two grade levels in math.
Mrs. Brock said there are 18 students being tutored, and an additional seven throughout Jefferson County are on a waiting list. Tutors are needed in Watertown, Glen Park, Dexter and LaFargeville.
Miss Capone said shed encourage people of any age who have an interest in basic math to attend the next volunteer tutor training session. As busy as she is with sports, class work, preparing for college and having a job, Miss Capone said, the time shes spent with Miss Mahon has been the most rewarding.
Literacy of Northern New York will hold math tutor training from 10 a.m. to noon April 10 at the KeyBank buildings third-floor conference room, 200 Washington St. For more information or to register, call the agency at 782-4270.