BILLINGS — While studying to become a nurse, Megan Reynolds is taking time to help younger kids with their studies.
During the fall semester while taking pre-nursing classes, Reynolds volunteered through Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids to tutor four young students on everything from math and papers to reading.
One young girl needed help with reading comprehension. Reynolds would have her read, then stop and ask her what happened.
“I just kind of like helping people. I applied here. It was a good fit. You get really attached to the kids,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds plans to continue her PLUK tutoring for the next three to four years while she completes her own studies.
“Megan is kind of a rock star,” said Jack Salveson, PLUK’s tutoring coordinator and supervisor. After a session with Reynolds, he said, one of her pupils told her, “You’re kind of nice."
PLUK is looking for more tutors as well as students, said Bobbie Thurston, PLUK’s director. There is a “huge need,” she said, for students and their families who can’t afford to hire tutors.
PLUK has been offering free tutoring for 10 years. While the Billings-based organization helps families of children with disabilities and special health care needs, the tutoring program is open to any child needing help along with some adults working for their general education development diploma, Thurston said.
“We want everyone to live up to their potential. We don’t want money to be a barrier to tutor support,” Thurston said.
PLUK has partnered with Montana State University Billings to use its library for the tutoring sessions after running out of room at its location at 516 N. 32nd St.
PLUK encourages MSUB students studying education or special education to become tutors but welcomes anyone with an interest in helping students.
There are no specific requirements for tutoring. Anyone who made it through high school, is good with people and is eager to work with kids can be a tutor, Salveson said.
Students are paired with a tutor for one hour a week for eight weeks, following the semester schedule, Salveson said. Students bring assignments while PLUK supplies other materials and works with teachers.
“We try to make it interactive,” Salveson said. The first 45 minutes are focused on academics while the last 15 minutes are geared toward fun, like math bingo, he said.
PLUK serves about 20 students and has three tutors. The organization is signing up both for its next session. Tutoring sessions run from 3 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“It’s good to see a child ‘get it,’” Salveson said.
“I’ve seen so many kids blossom” though tutoring, Thurston said.
To learn more about the tutoring program or to apply to become a tutor, visit PLUK’s website at PLUK.org or call 406-255-0540.