Center for Community Engagement

CONNECTIONS: Keeping Children Safe and Smart

Interested in working with youth in Holyoke? Interested in an opportunity to try out curriculum planning in an urban public school? Volunteer as a tutor with the CONNECTIONS After-School program!

During the 2012-2013 academic year, Amherst College launched its first educational partnership with the CONNECTIONS After-School Program in Holyoke. Amherst students travelled to EN White Elementary School and worked as tutors and club assistants for grades 2-5.  The program will continue for the 2013-2014 academic year, and will run Monday through Thursday, October through May, from 3-5:50.

Time Commitment

Tutors will commit to 1-2 afternoons per week. The van to CONNECTIONS will depart from campus daily at 2:30 and return before 6:30. In addition to weekly shift commitments, tutors will be expected to attend periodic reflections, planning meetings, and program campus visits, as well as training session at the beginning and during the middle of the semester conducted by the CONNECTIONS program staff. Failure to attend a mandatory training session will result in dismissal from the program.


The CONNECTIONS program is structured using the following schedule:

Snack and Socializing

3 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Homework and Tutoring Hour

3:20 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.

Homework centers are at each site. Students who are having difficulties with homework assignments or who need library or Internet resources to complete an assignment will have access to the computer lab and library. Teachers and tutors provide individual support to students as needed. Tutors should view this time as an opportunity to get acquainted with students both in a group and individually.

Enrichment Clubs

4:20 p.m. – 5:50 pm

Students participate in Enrichment Club activities. After a semester commitment to CONNECTIONS, tutors may have an opportunity to create their own after school club. In order to create an after school club, an individual or group of tutors will develop a week-by-week curriculum to ensure that every program day is an exciting and engaging learning experience.

Examples of past and current enrichment clubs:





Science Experiments


Hip Hop Dance

Outdoor Adventure


Jewelry Making

Community Service

Mural Art


Mission Statement of CONNECTIONS

Our goal is to enhance the knowledge, skills and interests of participating students to support their social, emotional and physical development and to strengthen their connections to peers, teachers, the school and the natural environment through a balance of academic enrichment and physical fitness programming.


  • To support academic achievement in the areas of homework, verbal communication/writing and math problem solving skills and understanding.
  • To support healthy youth development by creating learning environments that are fun, safe, and respectful and to do so by increasing youth awareness of healthy and constructive behaviors
  • To strengthen connections between regular school-day staff and after-school staff
  • To strengthen staff connections to families and increase parental involvement in the program
  • To increase connections to the community through community service projects and other types of community engagement
  • To strengthen connections between program sites while drawing from the best aspects of each site