For three years, Pi Kappa Alpha’s Kappa Zeta chapter at the University of Louisville has been tutoring for service hours at a local elementary school. Cochran Elementary school, a Jefferson County Public School, has recently seen a significant boost in their academics, and part of the reason why may be due to the creation of Cardinal Club, created by the fraternity. Members of Pi Kappa Alpha (or Pike, for short) go to Cochran five days every week to tutor students in a range of subjects, including math and English. The program started three years ago, when Tim Foster, Cochran’s principal and Pi Kappa Alpha alumnus, contacted the Kappa Zeta chapter to get involved with tutoring.
“Volunteering is not mandatory but we do like for our members to get involved,” sophomore Raymond White said. There are approximately 55 volunteers for tutoring, most of whom are members of Pike. However, the fraternity has newly expanded their program, recruiting members of UofL sororities and Freshman LEAD to tutor there as well.
The students Pike members tutor range from third to fifth grade; overall, there are 70 students in the program. As Cardinal Club broadened, a classroom was given specifically for the tutoring to take place in. Leanna Larkin, a teacher at Cochran, is in charge of the arrangements.
“Cardinal club is a great program for our kids,” Larkin said. “Since a good percentage of our kids would be first generation college students, it gives them an example to follow and a guide to how to get where they want to be.
Recent UofL graduate Hunter Pittman was Community Service chairman. He recalls one of the best parts about tutoring is seeing how the program affects the UofL volunteers just as much, if not more, than the elementary school students.
“It really is a two way relationship that I think both people look forward to every week,” Pittman said.
Senior Shelby LaFollette mentioned that while they are making quantifiable improvements to the community, the improvement does not end on the report card.
“We’re not here to just help the students with fractions.” LaFollette, who is also Vice President of Pike, said. “Just watching them walk into the Cardinal Club and have their faces light up is an incredible experience.”
Cardinal Club is a year-long program, and in the spring, there is also a sports edition. To Pike students in need of service hours, or looking to get involved with the community, volunteering at Cochran proved wonderful way to help out. Volunteering with kids put them in a position to be a role model for someone who may be in dire need of one.