By Megan Smith –
Nobody can be too loud and no one can be too quiet according to the rules at tutoring day at the Muslim Community Center in Tucson.
Ahmad Safdar is a sophomore at the University of Arizona and is the brains behind Dunk and Learn. His goal was to run a program for kids of all ages to learn through affordable tutoring. “I wanted to create an environment where both the students and their parents felt comfortable and motivated to come to,” said Safdar. The Muslim Community Center of Tucson (MCCT) is open for many different kinds of community events, including family fun days and health screenings. Safdar found that the center was a good market for his tutoring services.
His efforts have created an environment that is welcoming to students of all grades. The tutoring program is open to K-12 students on the first and third Saturday of every month. Each session runs from 10 a.m. to noon and is free. The tutors are all U of A students who have excelled academically.
The first session began in January with about 10 students. Within two weeks the amount of students more than doubled. Students from a local charter school attended the second session. Safdar reported that there is generally an equal mix of boys and girls. All students study for an hour and a half and then are allowed to play basketball. Though basketball is the most popular activity, the kids actually are encouraged to play any sport. Soccer is also a group favorite.
Safdar is very proud of the potential that his program brings to the community. “The community is able to come together to strive and work towards the success of our future generations,” Safdar said. Safdar believes that Dunk and Learn tightens the bond between children and their families when they see the progress that has been made. Not only does the program raise test scores but it strengthens relationships.
Safdar hopes that this will teach kids to work and play together. Bullying is not an issue that the group experiences. The fact that everyone is welcome creates a warm environment. Younger students look up to the older ones. Even siblings are getting along better now.
Not only are the college tutors teaching the elementary students but they are learning from them as well. Safdar said the privilege of watching the shy kids come out of their shells to assist others is one of the things that makes this well worth the time and effort.
Future plans to expand the program include SAT preparation. For more information on how to sign up for Dunk and Learn, contact Ahmad Safdar at 520-904-3788.