While there are many service opportunities outside of the Milken community, Bridge to a Brighter Future is a program unique to Milken.
Inspired by a technologically based tutoring program at Harvard Westlake, Cole Stern ’15 brought Bridge to a Brighter Future to Milken last year. This program, which Harvard Westlake launched three years ago, is an efficient way to eliminate the money and time invested in traditional tutoring.
Instead of bringing tutors to a student’s school, Bridge to a Brighter Future uses Skype and Wacom Writing Tablets in order to tutors students.
“Children are immediately drawn into technology, which is conducive towards developing a love of learning,” Stern said.
The use of technology also allows Milken students to tutor elementary and middle school students that live farther away. In most tutoring programs, Milken students are restricted to helping children within a certain distance of campus. However, since the tutors are not meeting with the students face-to-face, the students can live anywhere in the city, or even in the country.
While the program has many advantages, it has one disadvantage: since the students and tutors do not meet in person, they do not have very personal interactions. In attempt to rectify the situation, Stern said there will be “two sessions throughout the year where we bus the tutors over to the school.”
After tutors and students met in person, the dynamic of the program changed. Having formed a more personal connection, they became comfortable while skyping with one another.
Bridge to a Brighter Future has proven to be a success at Milken. Where as tutors were originally working with five students, they now are working with ten. Additionally, this program has strengthened the connection between education and technology, a connection that will continue to grow in the future.