BSLCE service sites provide students with the opportunity to interact with individuals from diverse backgrounds – including race, gender, nationality, age, socio-economic, religion, (dis)ability and sexual orientation. Students have the opportunity to develop interpersonal competencies such as communication, leadership and management skills in real-world situations. Below, please find descriptions of service-learning programs. For a full list of program days and times for Fall 2023, please click here.
Mentoring and Tutoring Programs
Through this program, Bentley students implement a ten-week team-building curriculum that complements Physical Education classes at local elementary schools. This curriculum was developed by Bentley students in collaboration with Physical Education teachers. Each week, the Bentley mentors facilitate activities in 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-grade gym classes. At the end of each class, these mentors lead reflection sessions to ensure that the children learn the meaning of teamwork and have a platform for open conversations.
Through the A Step Ahead program, Bentley University students foster strong relationships with middle school students to stress the importance of an education in today's world. Through semiweekly sessions, Bentley students work within small groups of 6th -, 7th -, and 8th -graders at McDevitt Middle School to enhance their academic skills and provide them with pivotal out-of-school support. Tutors assist with the educational progression of the students. As mentors and friends, they promote constructive character development and individual growth.
In 2013, the Guys Only program was designed by Bentley students to promote the social and emotional development of the young men in the Chesterbrook community. Through structured activities and discussions in weekly sessions, these teens and pre-teens are equipped to approach their lives and relationships in ways that are both healthy and inclusive. Bentley students create and facilitate each session to meet the specific needs of the group.”
This is a unique mentoring and tutoring program created by Bentley students for military children living on Hanscom Air Force Base. In an environment in which most families are transient, and many of the students have a parent who has been deployed, college mentors have an incredible opportunity to create strong bonds and make an impact. Through this afterschool program, Bentley students create learning opportunities and engage the Hanscom elementary and middle school children in activities that promote strong teamwork, enhance self-confidence, and provide space for good conversations and social/emotional development.
Developed by a Bentley student, the PRISM Project was created to help young women achieve a higher level of self-esteem and to aid them in the discovery of three core values: ambition, inner beauty, and full potential. Through weekly workshops, Bentley role models equip these girls to set goals and follow their dreams. Prism Project at Hanscom sessions are held weekly in the afternoon at Hanscom Air Force Base. Bentley mentors further the mission of the program by designing and facilitating unique, innovative, and engaging activities.
Developed by a Bentley student, the PRISM Project was created to help young women achieve a higher level of self-esteem and to aid them in the discovery of three core values: ambition, inner beauty, and full potential. Through weekly workshops, Bentley role models equip these girls to set goals and follow their dreams. Prism Project sessions are held weekly during the evening at the Chesterbrook Community Center. Bentley mentors further the mission of the program by designing and facilitating unique, innovative, and engaging activities.”
SMART Girls was developed to help guide young girls through troubles they encounter in their teen years. Through individual and group mentoring sessions conducted twice per week, Bentley students encourage Waltham teens to live a healthy lifestyle, become more informed about the world around them, and develop into socially responsible individuals. Bentley students bond with the participants and act as role models and mentors. Through these relationships, mentors can provide students with resources and guidance that will help them to make an informed post-graduation plan.
SMART Guys provides a positive environment for young men to develop their teamwork, social/emotional, and leadership skills. Through individual and group mentoring sessions conducted twice per week, Bentley students encourage Waltham kids to live a healthy lifestyle, become more informed about the world around them, and develop into socially responsible individuals. Bentley students bond with the participants and act as role models and mentors.
The Waltham High School Investment Club’s goal is to engage Waltham High School students around topics of accounting, finance, and economics. Using a live market simulation, students learn about the basics of stock picking, the different types of trades investment professionals make, the effects of macroeconomic conditions, the ways in which investing can be a force for social good, and many other finance-related topics. In addition to teaching students about finance, the broader goal of the WHS Investment Club is to give students exposure to potential career paths and to provide them with insights that can help guide them through the college process.
English as a Second or Other Language Programs
Through the ELL program, Bentley students facilitate learning in five Waltham elementary schools while working one-on-one, or in small groups, with children in kindergarten through fifth grade who are struggling with English language. They meet with the children twice per week, assisting with schoolwork, making real-life connections, and building their mentees' self-confidence. Many of these children are from immigrant families, are new or newer to the area, and need support to achieve personal and academic success. In this program, Bentley students act as coaches--they not only provide academic support for specific assignments, but also teach strategies for students to solve problems as they advance in their academic journeys.
The Waltham Family School (WFS) empowers English Language Learner families to be literate, self-sufficient, and connected to the Greater Waltham community. Three days per week, Bentley students participate in WFS programming as tutors. The tutors work with parents, both in one-on-one and large group settings, to help them develop computer skills and improve their English language skills.
This program, designed for Bentley students taking Spanish courses at the 200 level or above, provides college students with the opportunity to meet with native Spanish speakers in a reciprocal language exchange program. Participants spend half of their time speaking in Spanish and half in English, discussing a wide variety of culturally relevant topics. Through this program, Bentley students develop Spanish language skills, and parents of Whittemore Elementary School students develop English language skills."
Waltham boasts a diverse population, and many of its youth speak something other than English as a first language. Through this program, Bentley students support 4th-grade students at the Whittemore Elementary School as they aim to read at a proficient level. Bentley participants will serve as mentors and academic coaches the Whittemore students, who may face various barriers to learning.
Computer Related Programs
America Clicks! aims to improve technology literacy among Waltham youth. Through the program, Bentley students work with the Waltham IT specialist and teachers to develop advanced IT opportunities for students in elementary schools, middle schools, Waltham High School, and afterschool programs. Each week, mentors work one-on-one, and in small groups, with the children to provide children with opportunities to enhance their technology skills.
America Clicks! aims to improve technology literacy among Waltham youth. Through the program, Bentley students work with the Waltham IT specialist and teachers to develop advanced IT opportunities for students at Waltham High School, many of whose first language is not English. Each week, mentors work one-on-one, and in small groups, with the youth to provide them opportunities to enhance their technology skills and advance the English language understanding. It is recommended that Bentley students interested in participating in this program speak Spanish at a conversational level.
Brookhaven at Lexington is a life-care living facility for seniors. Residents are retired, and live independently, or in assisted-living accommodations on site. Through the Cyber Coaches program, Bentley students are matched one-on-one with residents who are eager to learn. These pairs meet once per week, and Bentley students help the residents to develop skills when using the most updated computer and cell phone technology.
Newbury Court is a vibrant retirement community in Concord, MA. Residents live independently, and although they are retired, they continue to lead busy lives. Through this program, Bentley students are matched one-on-one with residents who are eager to learn about technology and its applications to their community work, personal endeavors, and/or interpersonal communication. These pairs meet once per week, and Bentley students help the residents to develop skills when using the most updated computer and cell phone technology.
Skills for Life was developed to assist adults from the Waltham area with developing personal computer skills so they can gain meaningful employment. Originally, the program was designed to bring technology to those in the community who did not have access to computers. While this barrier has been closed for many adults, there are still gaps that prevent local adults from finding jobs. Today, in small classroom settings, Bentley students work one-on-one with program attendees, assess attendees' abilities and skills, and offer individual assistance tailored specifically to each attendee.
In existence for over twenty years, Chesterbrook Learning Center is located in one of Waltham's family-oriented public housing developments. When children--from six-year-olds to fourteen-year-olds--return from school each day, they find Bentley students on-site to tutor and mentor them. By developing strong relationships with the Bentley mentors, children are empowered to meet (and exceed) their academic goals and develop into well-rounded, socially responsible individuals. Homework help, academic and social activities, healthy snacks, and fun fill the schedule each day.
The mission of the Dana Court Afterschool Program is to provide the children of Dana Court with a safe, positive environment where they can learn and grow--both academically and socially. The Dana Court program serves as an outlet for children in the Dana Court public housing development, affording them a place to complete homework, participate in structured activities, and engage with other students. Academics are the primary focus of the Dana Court Afterschool Program. All attendees are strongly encouraged to complete all homework assignments and supplementary learning materials prior to spending the remainder of their time taking part in a wide range of activities designed by Bentley mentors. Bentley mentors are expected to lead by example, help students with homework, tutor them in areas in which they lack, and coordinate activities from day to day. The students from Bentley who are on-site at Dana Court are encouraged to treat their service as a complement to their classroom experience and to draw connections between their classroom work and their community work.
Through the Fitzgerald Afterschool program, Bentley University students serve as mentors and tutors to students at the Fitzgerald Elementary School. Through semiweekly sessions, Bentley students work with small groups of students to enhance their academic skills and provide them with pivotal out-of-school support. Tutors assist with the educational progression of the students. As mentors, they promote constructive character development and individual growth.
In 2014, Bentley University and Brandeis University collaborated to open a community center in one of Waltham's public housing developments. Since then, for five days each week during the academic year, students from both schools manage an afterschool enrichment program for children between the ages of six and thirteen. The college mentors assist the children with homework and academic activities. Healthy snacks and fun activities round out the schedule each day, giving children an opportunity to grow as students and as individuals, right in their own community.
Bentley students designed SDGs for You and Me to inspire the next generation of changemakers. Through facilitated workshops, activities, and reflections in weekly sessions, Bentley students teach elementary school students about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These elementary school students are also challenged and equipped to drive progress toward these goals on a local level.
The Waltham Boys & Girls Club connects Bentley students with local youth through afterschool programming. At the Club, Bentley students are responsible for the homework room, where they tutor and mentor the students in order to help them achieve their academic potential. Additionally, Bentley students interact with children in the game room and gymnasium. The students range from elementary school to high school.
At Waltham Fields Community Farm, Bentley students have the opportunity to make an impact in their own backyard. Located right down the street, the Farm operates an after-school program where Waltham students can further their knowledge of sustainability, health, agriculture, and other academic topics. Through this program, Bentley students will not only facilitate sessions and workshops, but also serve as mentors and tutors for the students in the afterschool program.
The Watertown Boys & Girls Club connects Bentley students with local youth through afterschool and evening programming. At the Club, Bentley students are responsible for the homework room, where they tutor and mentor the students in order to help them achieve their academic potential. Additionally, Bentley students interact with children in the game room and gymnasium. The students range from elementary school to high school.
Through this afterschool program, Bentley students serve as mentors and tutors to students at the Whittemore Elementary School. Many of these children are English Language Learners. Bentley students provide both one-on-one and group assistance with homework, reading, and computers. Fun activities and healthy snacks are part of the schedule, as well.
The Woburn Boys & Girls Club connects Bentley students with local youth through afterschool programming. At the Club, Bentley students are responsible for the homework room, where they tutor and mentor the students in order to help them achieve their academic potential. Additionally, Bentley students interact with children in the game room and gymnasium. The students range from elementary school to high school.
Community Assistance Programs
Each spring semester, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) offers free tax help to people who make $72,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. Bentley students serve as IRS-certified reviewers, providing free basic income tax return preparation to qualified individuals in the Waltham community. In order to participate in this program, a Bentley student must be enrolled in or have taken AC 350. You can find more information about VITA here.
Career Success Institute is a program designed to prepare high school students to apply for, secure, and succeed in a summer internship experience. Overall, the program works to provide opportunities to break educational and income barriers for its 100+ students, many of whom are of marginalized identities. Run in conjunction with the Waltham Partnership for Youth, this program provides Bentley students with the opportunity to review résumés and cover letters, prepare high school students for interviews, conduct mock interviews, and prepare students to succeed—and even get a head start—within their desired fields. By facilitating workshops and engaging in one-on-one coaching sessions, Bentley students lend technical expertise to high school students who are taking the first step in their career journeys.
In today’s world, there is limitless possibility for connection; however, American society is seeing increasing rates of isolation, recidivism, and loneliness. The Sages and Seekers program is designed to foster intergenerational connections between Waltham seniors and Bentley students. Twice per week, students and seniors engage in structured, hour-long, one-on-one discussions. Through these conversations, both parties learn from each other’s perspectives and enjoy an opportunity to examine issues and topics through a different lens. At the end of the semester, each Bentley student writes a tribute to the Waltham senior(s) with whom they have conversed over the course of the semester.
Individuals With Developmental Disabilities Programs
In this program, Bentley students facilitate gym classes at Northeast Elementary School. Designed particularly for students with developmental disabilities, these gym classes are typically held during morning hours. Through active engagement with the children, Bentley students promote physical and cognitive development, self-confidence, teamwork, and the spirit of inclusion.
Opportunities for Inclusion provides services for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, utilizing a personal planning approach. Through this program, Bentley students commit to equipping Opportunities for Inclusion participants meet their life goals by fostering meaningful relationships with them. In this program, Bentley students design activities, crafts, and projects and facilitate two hour-long sessions per week.