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Montgomery College Student Success Stories

College’s Federal Work-Study Students Give—and Get a Lot Back in Return
Montgomery College Today, Fall '03

Marvin Brooks works one on one with a student at Gap Buster Learning Center in Silver Spring.The smile on a boy’s face reveals his joy after conquering a difficult reading assignment. Little girls giggle upon mastering a tricky mathematical puzzle. A newly arrived immigrant carries on a rudimentary conversation in English with confidence. Montgomery College students who participate in the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Community Service Program witness these small victories every day. In 1994, Congress mandated that institutions receiving federal work-study funds spend a portion of their federal allocation on community service activities. “The community service program made it possible for the kids in our program to receive one-on-one tutoring in reading and math,” said Dr. Lori Melman, executive director of Family Learning Solutions, a Silver Spring nonprofit offering tutorial services for children.

“The Montgomery College Federal Work-Study students are truly an inspiration. Our kids see them as role models and mentors. They’re a perfect example of why a college education is pivotal in today’s society for future success,” said Melman. MC alum Marvin Brooks, now on scholarship at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., was a tutorial services organizer at Gap Buster Learning Center in Silver Spring. “I have worked and volunteered in community service with kids since high school and can really see the benefits of helping others,” he said. “Now through a FWS-paid position, I’m helped with college expenses, while working directly in an area related to my future goal of becoming a child psychologist.” As community service becomes a more crucial element in society, Congress continues to direct more resources in the Federal Work-Study program to community service initiatives. MC service efforts have focused on the family literacy component of community service that includes America Reads, America Counts, and Adult Literacy. Belkis Talvera, an adult student returning to school to enhance her skills and change career paths, is an adult literacy tutor in an evening program at Rosemary Hills Elementary School. “I feel I’m making a difference in helping many immigrants learn the necessary English skills needed to function outside the classroom and in making a successful transition into American society,” said Belkis. “The people we work with benefit tremendously from the program and without it, many of us would not have the resources to complete our education.”