Maik! It means hello in the Paiute dialect for southern tribes like those found in Utah and Nevada.

Here in southern Utah, the Paiute tribe is a significant part of our history and culture. As a way to maintain the connection between the tribe and other community members, Southern Utah University (SUU) students have stepped in to provide assistance to the Paiute children.

Paiute tutoring is an after school program where university students have the opportunity
to  go to the reservation and work with Paiute students from kindergarten to high school on their studies. This program is free to the families and gives all students a chance to work hard and inspire excellence.

While volunteers serve with the goal of helping children with their homework, their impact is much greater. As Staci Thompson, Service Leader over Paiute Tutoring, puts it, they are there to, “teach the importance of education, working hard, and doing well in school.” paiute

Staci’s interaction with a frustrated second grader who overcoming her academic an personal struggles is just one demonstration of the greater impact volunteers unknowingly have. “It showed me not only could I make a difference for these students academically, but also on a bigger scale,” she said.

For these students, it is more than just the assignment. Nick Montague, Service Leader over Paiute Tutoring, says it’s about trying to be better tutors and role models. Nick’s helping a student plan the classes she needs to graduate is one example of the lasting impact volunteers have with Paiute students.

This video gives an inside look into an afternoon at the Paiute Tutoring Center.

Receiving an education is not always presented as an obtainable goal. It is the hope of the Service Leaders, program participants and community that programs like this make that goal more tangible and show students it is within their reach.

For more information about how to get involved in Paiute Tutoring or programs like it, visit the Community Engagement Center.