PORTSMOUTH, VA (NNS) -- It was the dawn of the final day of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Tutorial Partnership Program for the 2018-2019 School Year and the closing of Management Analyst Alaysha Walton’s first year as a tutor for Douglass Park Elementary School. She’d invested one day a week coming to the school and helping them with reading, something she had wished to do since becoming part of America’s Shipyard.
“I have a background in social work and I’ve always wanted to find a way to give back to my community in some way,” said Walton. “The Tutorial Program opened up a way to give back and help make an impact in the lives of the students.”
After a successful year with the program, the tutors and staff at Douglass Park Elementary held a party to celebrate the achievements of the students. In addition, it was there that the students took the time to say their own personal appreciation to their tutors. Walton listened to the testimonies of those she helped throughout the year, feeling pride as they shared their experiences and how thankful they were for the help the shipyard workforce provided them. She knew right away that she would return for the next school year to give back to the community once again.
“For us volunteers, this is more than just something to do once a week,” said Walton. “This is about investing time into others, helping the students learn and also learning from them as well. You build a rapport with the students and build trust and accountability. It’s something special that can go a long way.”
The Tutorial Partnership Program at NNSY is a weekly program that reaches out to various schools in the community, with volunteers taking on the roles of tutors and mentors committed to strengthening and developing the youth of the community. The 2018-2019 school year completed with dozens of volunteers servicing eight different schools in the Hampton Roads community.
“Each of our volunteers take time out of their week because they believe in the students they assist and want to help them succeed,” said Outreach Coordinator Valerie Fulwood. “Seeing our shipyard family step out of their normal day-to-day to share with the community is wonderful and we truly appreciate their time and dedication to the cause. They inspire the students and inspire others to go out into the community as well.”
“Learning is a big part of what we do every day,” said Operations Officer Capt. James “Jip” Mosman. “There’s always something new out there for us to learn and having folks like our tutors taking the time to encourage the students to learn and challenge themselves is wonderful and inspiring. Your time and attention to the students shows them how much you care about them and their education.”
Volunteers assist in the personal growth of students varying from elementary to high school level in subjects like math, reading, Standards of Learning (SOL) preps, and more. With supervisor approval, an hour is allowed each week for the volunteers to travel to the school and provide that mentorship to the students.
“We were able to find the right school for us depending on what we were interested in helping to teach the students,” said Walton. “This program helps our community and delivers positive role models to these kids that they can count on each week to come sit with them and expand their learning. It’s a wonderful experience and I encourage anyone who has ever had an interest in serving the community in some way to look into becoming a tutor.”
For those interested in joining the Tutorial Mentorship Program, please reach out to Fulwood at Valerie.firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
For more news from Norfolk Naval Shipyard, visit www.navy.mil/local/nnsy/.