The University Honors Program, Student Affairs and Nebraska Extension are launching a new opportunity for students to gain valuable career experience while giving back to youth across the state.
Beginning April 1, undergraduates can apply to be part of the Huskers After-School and Summer Learning Opportunities program, in which participants will lead children in grades K-12 in after-school clubs and summer activities.
The program is accepting 100 students from all areas of study. There is no current deadline for applications.
“This program was designed to give UNL students the opportunity to contribute to Nebraska’s recovery from the pandemic – specifically, to help young people whose learning has been interrupted by school closures,” said Jeff Cole, network lead for Beyond School Bells, Nebraska’s statewide afterschool network which is partnering with the university for the initiative.
“Research tells us that after-school and summer learning experiences can have a profound effect on a young person’s development, and we believe UNL students can be just the type of mentors and club facilitators we need to help renew and accelerate learning and growth in the year ahead.”
Honors students have led after-school clubs in Lincoln schools for several years now. The new expansion was made possible through CARES Act funds provided to the university.
“I am so excited to see our after-school programs grow this summer,” said Patrice McMahon, director of the Honors Program. “For students, watching these children learn and grow is often the highlight of their week. They come away feeling not only fulfilled, but also prepared with new skills they didn’t have before.”
Participants in HALO will have the unique ability to tailor their after-school programs according to their interests or major in school. For example, in 2018, fisheries and wildlife major Alex Otto developed a club for kindergarten through second-grade students at Prescott Elementary focused on the wildlife of Nebraska.
“I was initially worried about the young age range of my students, but I ended up being surprised by how enthusiastic these children are about learning,” Otto said in a previous Nebraska Today article. “It is just a great experience to share my knowledge from my major with children in the community, and it adds purpose as I pursue my undergraduate degree.”