What’s Going On: Community Club Goes Virtual

by Paul Dornan

Last Thursday, Community Club entered its  59th season of tutoring and mentoring D.C. public school students in a virtual mode. Like all other ministries of the New York Avenue congregation during the Covid pandemic, this fall it will not gather in the church itself. Rather, both tutors and students will “gather” in the confines of their separate homes and meet virtually. 

How it Works. Using the Zoom video meeting platform, each Community Club leader assigned to a class first brings her/his flock together and then assigns each tutor/student pair or small groups to a breakout room.  There each pair does exactly what would have done if they had met in the Peter Marshall Hall:  Work on and review homework assignments and on math and language skills; prepare for the SATs; draft college essays and applications; view educational materials; and just talk.  The shared-screen feature of Zoom permits student and tutor to share math problems, textbook explanations and draft paragraphs online. Moreover, members of the Math/Science Zone will be only a request away from helping any pair who needs some help with math and science questions.

Of course, not every aspect of Community Club can be replicated on line. There will be no common meal before the Club starts and no camp at Prince William Forest Park this fall. 

However, the Club will continue to award Stay-in-School Scholarships to our high school students who maintain good grades and regular attendance in study hall and College Scholarships to graduates now in college.  Over 40 of our current college students met virtually together in June to discuss college survival strategies in this new world of distance learning.

Keeping the “Community” in Community Club. How can we keep the “community” in Community Club during a pandemic?  That’s a challenging question for us all.  Community Club fortunately can claim a wonderfully committed and resourceful leadership that is keeping that question foremost in their minds as they grapple with the task of how to keep the essence of Community Club intact until we can all meet again on the fifth floor of the church.

In the meantime, we welcome new tutors.  If you are interested in that possibility, please contact Phil Telfeyan, ptelfeyan@communityclub.org, to join Club orientation any Thursday evening starting at 6:15 PM. 

For more information on Community Club, go to our website at www.communityclub.org.

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