BU Student Recognized for Volunteer Work at McKinley South End Academy

Boston University senior Kaitlyn Olivier spends a good portion of her time not on campus, but in the math department at McKinley South End Academy volunteering with multiple students ages 11 to 14.

Though she is a Public Relations major, she took some psychology classes at BU and one of her professors recommended that she volunteer at the school. For the last year and a half, she has mainly worked in the math period, but she has started staying for art classes, social studies, and awards ceremonies as well. She is so dedicated to this work that she has scheduled her college classes around her work at the school, and was nominated for an award through Boston Partners in Education for her efforts.

“I’m not just a mentor, I have real friendships with students,” Olivier said. “For these students, they’ve grown up in less fortunate households and communities and don’t get as much attention as they deserve,” she added, so she is happy to “give them that extra help that they need.”

She said she is able to build relationships with the students by being honest with them and sharing things about her life. In turn, they open up and share things about their lives. “When they trust me, they do better on their math and whatever else they are doing with me,” she said.

Olivier has a special skill: speed-solving Rubik’s Cubes. She said some friends taught her how to do it, and it really impresses the students. She said she tried teaching them once, but their attention span wasn’t really long enough to fully learn.

Olivier will be attending grad school for forensic psychology, and is still figuring out what she wants to do after that.

Right now, she is thrilled to be where she is at the McKinley South End Academy, because “like a lot of people, [these students] don’t have a first chance to be where they are today.”

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