The Waltham Group is close to home for Herlyne Das '18

A Waltham native, Das is a volunteer and coordinator for the Waltham Group’s Tutoring in Public Schools program

Photo/Mike Lovett

Herlyne Das '18.

Most Brandeis students first learn about Waltham Group programs sometime during their first year on campus, perhaps from a friend or during the activities fair in Shapiro Campus Center. Herlyne Das learned about them much earlier.

A Waltham native, Das remembers friends growing up who had mentors from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program through Waltham Group. Later, as a senior in high school, she was introduced to the Waltham Group's Tutoring in Public Schools (TIPS) program when she was volunteering through the honor society at Stanley Elementary School and met a TIPS volunteer there. 

When she told the volunteer she was thinking about going to Brandeis, the volunteer suggested she look into volunteering with TIPS if she decided to enroll. 

Das took that advice, and began volunteering and coordinating for the program in the second semester of her first year, even volunteering in the very same classroom at Stanley Elementary School where she first encountered a TIPS volunteer. When she started looking into volunteer opportunities, she knew she wanted to help the community she was raised in, and the TIPS program was a natural fit.

"Their goals and motivation lined up perfectly with what I wanted to do," she said. "We are giving these kids some inspiration that they can also make it."

The tutoring program sends Brandeis volunteers to Waltham public schools to work in various capacities, based on teachers’ individual needs. Not only do the volunteers help students with schoolwork, they aspire to serve as mentors and build deep relationships with students. That mission is something that resonates with Das, who is double majoring in biology and Health: Science, Society and Policy and plans to go to medical school one day.

"I'm trying to inspire them," Das said. "I live here, and I went to that same school, they know it's not a fairly tale, that it's reality. I want to motivate them to want more for themselves. I want them to say, 'I can be just like her.'"

Founded in 1966, the Waltham Group is a volunteer community service organization that coordinates participation in outreach programs for students at Brandeis. Each year, more than 1250 students volunteer more than 40,000 hours through the Waltham Group’s network of student-led volunteer programs that partner with nonprofit and government organizations in the city of Waltham and beyond. The Waltham Group is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a family carnival, gala and more on the weekend of Oct. 8 and 9.

Categories: Alumni, Student Life

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