Tutoring, Reading, and Empowering Children (TREC)

TREC is a long-standing partnership between UMM and community organizations and schools that provides UMM students with opportunities to tutor and mentor children in pre-K through Grade 6. TREC tutors are work-study, volunteer, or community-engaged learning students serving at a variety of sites, described below.

Program Mission

TREC’s mission is to:

  1. Promote literacy in children ages 0-18
  2. Provide school-aged children with meaningful tutoring and mentoring experiences 
  3. Promote school readiness, academic engagement, healthy lifestyles, and intercultural competence
  4. Provide UMM students with opportunities to progress toward UMM learning outcomes through meaningful employment, volunteer, and community-engaged learning opportunities 

TREC Sites


ESL TREC is a literacy program for children (ages 0-18) of adults who attend or teach in our Community ESL Program. ESL TREC runs at the same times as Community ESL classes (Monday and Thursday evenings at Imholte Hall from 7:30-8:45 p.m., and Fridays at Federated Church from 1:00-3:00 p.m.). In addition, ESL TREC is provided as a service for members of the Latina Support and Friendship Group, which meets at Federated Church on Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. These groups are free and open to anyone interested in learning English. Adult caretakers must remain in their class or group in the same building as the ESL TREC activities are happening. ESL TREC tutors plan and implement lessons and literacy activities. A pre-K and a school-aged room is available in the evenings.

Storytime at the Library

Storytime at the Library tutors teach pre-literacy skills by leading interactive reading sessions for children, as well as related activities. Storytime takes place at the Morris Public Library on Thursdays from 10:30-11:30. Storytime at the Library is free and open to the public. Adult caretakers must accompany children who participate in this program. Storytime tutors choose a weekly theme, choose books, write reading and activity plans, and lead the sessions.

Zone After School Program

The Zone is an after school program at the Morris Area Elementary School serving children in grades K-6. Children who attend Zone receive a snack, an opportunity for outdoor or indoor play, homework help, and literacy and other interactive learning activities. Zone tutors mentor children, plan and implement interactive learning activities, and help with homework (each tutor is assigned to a particular grade level).

For Community Members: How to enroll your child in a TREC program.

  • For Storytime at the Library, just show up at the Morris Public Library on Thursday at 10:30! As long as you accompany the young person in your life, you can come as often as you wish.
  • For ESL TREC, just show up on Monday or Thursday evening at 7:30 at Imholte Hall or at Federated Church at 1:00 on Wednesday or Friday! An OCE student staff will welcome you and your children and provide you with an enrollment form the first time you come each year. You must attend Community ESL classes or the Latina Support and Friendship group while your child is in ESL TREC.
  • For Zone, please enroll through Morris Area Community Education or contact Michele Hickman, Youth Coordinator at Morris Area Community Education  by calling 320-589-4394 or e-mailing mhickman@morris.k12.mn.us.

For Students: How to get involved

The first step is applying for a TREC position. Paid federal work-study positions available are posted at the UMM Student Employment site. Volunteer applications and applications for those who are not federal work-study eligible but wish to be paid are available by contacting the Office of Community Engagement.

Applicants go through an interview process. If accepted for a position, they complete a six hour training (available at the start of each semester) and criminal background check (both free).

Upon completion of the training and background check, students commit to between four to 10 hours of volunteer or paid work.

Some Perks for Students

  • TREC tutors are observed once/year and get written feedback. This feedback is intended to help tutors recognize their strengths and develop their areas of challenge.
  • Tutors participate in monthly reflection and training retreats. These retreats teach tutors about best practices in child development, reading/literacy strategies, and working with diverse groups of students.
  • Education majors and students interested in careers working with young people are especially encouraged to apply; students can get four years of job experience in their field of interest, as many TREC tutors work in the program for all four years!
  • After serving as a tutor for one year, students have the opportunity to apply for lead tutor positions, which include mentoring new tutors and coordinating tutoring sites.