More than 180 U.Va. students participate in Cavs in the Classroom

Madison House program allows volunteers to assist, connect with elementary school children

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Cavs in the Classroom helps provide assistance to teachers who had large amounts of material to cover and one-on-one attention for students who may be struggling.

Sabrina Ferrero | Cavalier Daily

Kristen Cugini, senior writer

More than 180 University student volunteers went to 15 different schools in the Charlottesville area this year for Madison House’s annual Cavs in the Classroom event.

The volunteer program sends students to assist teachers in local elementary schools and is one of the largest programs offered by Madison House.

What made the program rewarding was the opportunity to reach out to the surrounding community, which can sometimes be forgotten by students who spend most of their time on Grounds, said Head Program Director Allie Rhea, a fourth-year College student.

“I’ve found that it’s a great way to get out of my daily routine and experience the community around me,” Rhea said.

The program helps assist teachers who have large amounts of material to cover and provides one-on-one attention for students who may be struggling. Students are able to learn more than would be possible in an activity involving the entire class, said Caroline Woods, program director for Walker Upper Elementary.

Volunteers travel to the same classroom for one hour each week, providing students with consistent help from University volunteers. Teachers appreciate the assistance and the students look forward to interacting with the volunteers each week, Rhea said.

Over the course of a semester, volunteers develop personal relationships with students. As college students, volunteers are closer to the elementary school students in age, and are thus more relatable, Woods said.

“You get to talk to them about things that they’re interested in and hang out as friends,” Woods said.

For Woods, the most satisfying aspect of working with Cavs in the Classroom was watching the students grow over the course of the semester.

“Seeing how much they can learn is amazing,” Woods said. “They just skyrocket.”

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