Most Frequently Asked Questions
No! The primary qualification is to be a caring adult (or young person 16 or over)! Many children and young people would benefit greatly from the general knowledge and life skills you possess. However, if you do have specialized skills, please let us know when you sign up to mentor or tutor. Some examples of and demands for specialized skills or training from our partners include:
- Math: math-adept tutors have helped students prepare for calculus
- Reading: Reading specialists can diagnose barriers to reading and “prescribe” or deliver specific exercises to help overcome barriers.
- Writing: Understanding how to formulate logical arguments for college admissions essays is helpful. Some of our volunteers make a living as a writer.
- Financial literacy: We have placed volunteers from financial services who can help students budget for college.
- Science: We have a volunteer who has developed an innovative biology curriculum.
No, we don’t offer tutoring and mentoring services. We work with 50 tutoring and mentoring partner organizations by matching them with volunteers whom we sign up at farmers markets, street festivals, and other events and spaces in the community – not to mention through direct signups on our website.
We need sustained help from volunteers who can commit to two or three hours per month to help us with outreach at farmers markets, festivals, movie nights and public events and spaces. Outreach volunteers are critical because they can increase the number of people we sign up to tutor and mentor. For example, if we table at a farmers market, each additional volunteer could mean an additional 10 or 20 new volunteer signups. Even if outreach volunteers just pass out flyers, the number of people who gain an awareness of what we do goes up. Sign up to volunteer here.
Not only does encouraging employees to volunteer help improve our communities, but it’s a great way to build community in your workplace. Sign up to be contacted for workplace tutoring and mentoring opportunities and learn more about the benefits of workplace involvement in community engagement.
How long does it take from the time I sign up to actually meeting with my student/mentee? What’s the onboarding process look like?
All of our partners require a criminal background check and orientation. Depending on the procedures that our partners are using, this could take anywhere from less than a week for partners doing background checks online to substantially longer when fingerprinting is required and when the organizations handling the background checks are backlogged, typically at the beginning of the school year.
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity.
All of our partner organizations are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations providing mentoring, tutoring, and after-school programming to primarily low-income children and youth. We also support several schools directly. View the full list of partners, including summaries of the services they provide, here.
We work with Mentor Maryland | DC on hosting volunteer recruitment fairs, the OST Coalition (for “out-of-school-time” programs) on advocacy, and we’ve partnered with the Washington Mystics and District Bridges among other organizations. We are also on the leadership team of the Volunteer Engagement Network (VEN), a group of volunteer managers working in local human service, education, environmental, and health organizations to coordinate and improve volunteer management in the DMV.
DCTMI is a matchmaker between members of the community interested in volunteering as tutors and mentors and more than 50 tutoring and mentoring organizations in the Washington, D.C., area. When people sign up with us, we use the information they provide, such as when and where they’re available, to match them with a convenient tutoring or mentoring program that needs volunteers!
Done well, the benefits of tutoring and mentoring extend far beyond academic improvement for the students to our broader civic culture: Volunteers develop new capacities and confidence in their ability to be a positive force in their communities. They become more civically engaged and feel closer to their communities by building bridges and goodwill – even if it takes time and perseverance – thus perpetuating a virtuous cycle of community engagement. Students grow up and pay it forward to the next generation. Volunteer tutors and mentors also become informal ambassadors throughout the city and suburbs advocating and educating on the transformative power of one-on-one relationships across class boundaries. Such relationships have the power to change the public mindset from, “There’s a problem in someone else’s neighborhood and we can’t do anything about it” to “By helping one kid in need, I’m building bridges and good will in our city. I’m changing lives for the better — even if it takes time and perseverance.”
Our partners serve nearly every part of the District of Columbia as well as Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Arlington County, Alexandria, and Fairfax County.
Two-thirds of kids in DC need extra support. That’s about 60,000 young people. If one volunteer could give each of them an extra hour or two per week, our world would be a better place. The students in need perform better in school, build healthy relationships, and benefit from improved employment prospects. There are also tens of thousands of students in the adjacent counties who need extra support that we try to serve, too.