Tutoring program gives back to community

Caroline Riggenbach tutors a student at Hesston Public Library.

Caroline Riggenbach tutors a student in the tutoring program she started.

As part of a sophomore education practicum requiring an on-site experience in a school or organization, a group of Hesston College students are gaining practical experience working with younger students as part of a free tutoring program they established at the Hesston Public Library. Caroline Riggenbach ’16 (Lafayette, Ind.) organized the program and also oversees and assists four other Hesston College students in tutoring elementary and middle school students at the weekly drop-in program.

“I have always had a passion for working with the community, families and students, so doing my practicum at the Hesston Public Library seemed like the perfect fit,” said Riggenbach.

Riggenbach and the other tutors have the opportunity to build relationships with their students’ families, and have learned to view each new day as an opportunity.

“I do a lot of talking with parents to see how things are going and what seems to be working, and what areas need improvement,” she said. “They are teaching me the joys of academic discovery, which encourages me as I get to see their little light bulb moments every day.”

In the future, Riggenbach plans to be an elementary school teacher in an inner-city public school.

“This has been such a fantastic opportunity as it has allowed me to develop skills I will need to utilize as a teacher,” said Riggenbach. “I am learning how to set goals with my students, adapt to very different learning styles, reinforce rigor and high expectations and encourage my students and their families by reminding them of the great progress they are making. I am so blessed to be a part of such a great opportunity, and I am forever blessed by the smart and silly students and their loving families that make after school tutoring possible.”