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Four nights a week JCU students travel to Garfield Heights to shape the future; both for themselves and an aspiring group of young people. They spend those evenings working with them to support their academic endeavors.


24 JCU students are taking part in a service learning opportunity through the Center for Service-Learning and Social Action (CSSA) with Boys Hope Girls Hope (BHGH) of Northeast Ohio. Throughout the semester these tutoring sessions develop relationships benefitting both the tutors and the BHGH students, astutely referred to as Scholars. 


The Executive Director of Boys Hope Girls Hope, Tim Grady agrees, “The whole experience of our program is based on relationships.” The bond between BHGH and JCU students has been growing for decades, Grady says he’s grateful for the long-term commitment.


It’s both exciting and rewarding to have a partnership so consistently engaged with our Scholars.

JCU students working with BHGH Scholars

Boys Hope Girls Hope is a national, non-profit outreach program aimed at empowering, educating and creating opportunities for children in underserved communities. The Northeast Ohio Chapter offers long-term support to prepare students for success in high school, college prep and securing employment once they graduate. BHGH was established in 1977 by Father Paul Sheridan, SJ, reflecting the Jesuit tradition of developing young individuals in the spirit of ‘cura personalis,’ meaning “care of the whole person.”


For many John Carroll students the tutoring sessions are a welcome break from the rigors of a full college course load. Sophomore Selena Alamir learned about the mission of BHGH over the summer and now volunteers her time to tutor. “It’s kind of a way to clock out from all the activity on campus” she says. Beyond the break tutoring offers, Alamir says her involvement in the program is extremely gratifying. 


Witnessing the growth of these students over the semester is the most rewarding part of my experience with Boys Hope Girls Hope. I look forward to it every week!

Sophomore Selena Alamir tutors BHGH Scholars

In addition to the scholastic challenges both groups of students work through together, they are also consistently building social skills. BHGH Academy Associate Director Danielle Rojas has seen firsthand the benefit of her Scholars working with college students. “There’s a huge social component to what JCU students do to keep our Scholars engaged,” says Rojas, “regularly interacting with college students makes their goal of earning their way into college feel more tangible.” 



Academy Associate Director Danielle Rojas (center)

During the time tutors and students spend together there is much more going on than homework help. Tutors are finding ways to connect with their students - giving them both the confidence and resources to find the answers themselves. In return, those tutors gain invaluable social skills and insight into another’s unique lived experience. Most importantly, both groups of students work together to develop genuine, mutually beneficial relationships.


The experience of tutoring Scholars at Boys Hope Girls Hope is just one of over 60 weekly opportunities available to JCU students in service learning classes or voluntary service at the university. With 75 community partnerships CSSA offers a variety of programs for JCU students to engage themselves within the community.  More than 450 John Carroll students are taking advantage of these unique experiences this semester. Click here to learn more ways to live the mission through the Center for Service-Learning and Social Action.