Social Capital and TC Buddies

Positive, strong social support systems can lead to a higher probability of a child’s academic performance —even though modestly reported. The functionality of each relationship within the social network is the crux of its strength. A healthy, positive social structure, can influence a child’s academic success rate. The TC Buddy system, exemplifies the strength of positive social capital not only through the one on one tutoring, but also as mentors.

As reading and math buddies, we exemplify social capital to our tutees as educators, nurturers and advisors. Our presence, outside of the traditional Department of Education curriculum, offers a new source of engagement and support for our students to learn through a positive relationship. The video games, board games, puzzles and other outside activities we introduce to our students invites them to a world of learning that the traditional classroom did not appeal to.

The social capital of the TC Buddies program provides a college mentor, tutor, advisor and role model for our students. As graduate student tutors, we provide a non-threatening resource to the institution for support. We can measure the impact of the TC Buddies program outside of academic performance rates through student self-reflections related to self-esteem, body image and confidence. Student tutee diaries, videos or voice-threads of their experiences with their TC Buddies could help capture this impact through qualitative analysis and a review of common themes and personal affirmations.

The biggest impact the TC Buddies program has had on me, beyond enabling a child to recognize their capabilities and self-confidence to learn, is the importance of engagement. Engagement in one’s work drives the personal satisfaction, enjoyment and desire to pursue any task at hand. I transferred this realization to my own life, by mustering the courage to shift jobs – and probably my program of study – from corporate worksite wellness, to childhood obesity. By doing this, I have the opportunity to focus my dissertation, part-time job and career path, towards a field that I was initially drawn to during undergrad – pediatric wellness. Observing the zeal my students have when they master a concept through gaming or master what used to be a challenging math concept, made me realize how important engagement, and utter love for what you do, with any task or formidable relationship is so valuable. Thank you to my four math buddies for being my teachers.