Local Tutoring Program Helps Ukrainian Refugees with Education

DULUTH, Minn. — Dr. Michael Waxman, a professor in the Chemistry department at UWS, developed ‘Tutoring Without Borders,’ a program used to help Ukrainian kids continue learning amidst the war.

When the war first started, many Ukrainian citizens were forced to flee and enter new countries. This created many language barriers for those who are still in school, and in turn, inspired Dr. Waxman to offer his teaching services to those affected.

“We scientists believe in experiment. experiment shows that tutoring is important for the sake of logical state of the child,” said Waxman.

He also says that his main goal was to provide a sense of normalcy to the kids and has already received positive feedback from the parents of participants, “and she told me once you started to tutor the boy, he absolutely changed. He again became the same pre-war kid that I knew. He again is searching all of the time for some physics, movies, and YouTube. Just the same old boy.”

The program started in march and has helped over 20 students since then. Waxman currently works with 7 students 5 hours a week. The material he provides is similar to his college classes, but at a somewhat lower pace.

Along with teaching, he is in charge of finding tutors and matching them with students in the program. “American high school teachers would be just fine. You don’t need to know Ukrainian or Russian to be able to tutor those kids. In many cases, English would be enough, I think.”

Germany is a popular refugee location for Ukrainian’s, but adapting to the language has been difficult. In Ukraine, they begin learning English in fifth grade, so many of the students are comfortable with the language. This is why Waxman found it important to start the mobile program and he teaches in both English and Russian.

“Our needs in sciences is more or else covered, but our needs in languages. That’s where the bottle neck is. So that, that is our concern.” Polish, German, Italian, French, and Spanish are a few of the languages that are in desperate need of attention.

Waxman says that he not only teaches these kids, but they have impacted his life, as well. “This period was one of the happiest times in my life, really. It is unbelievably rewarding to see kids who really want to learn. That’s an amazingly powerful experience.”

The program is still looking for tutors and web design help. Those who are interested can apply online at Tutoringwithoutborders.org

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