August 28, 2014 – Betsy Rymes is a great neighbor.
Rymes and her two children have lived in a three-bedroom apartment in Riepe since the fall of 2011.
Riepe is the second-largest community in the historic Quadrangle, which consists of 12 connected residential buildings that are arguably the most iconic on Penn’s tree-filled, urban campus.
Known as the “Paper Doctor,” Rymes helps many of her 482 undergraduate neighbors fine-tune their research papers or brainstorm ideas during weekly clinics.
“Tuesday evenings, students can bring any work in progress to my apartment and I talk it through with them and edit at whatever level they need,” Rymes says, adding that it’s now become a family affair. Her son, Charlie, is a writing major at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. During “The Paper Doctor” clinics, he works on his own writing, while Rymes reads through essays with freshmen at the dining table.
Rymes’ daughter, Anya, is a student at the nearby Samuel Powel Elementary School.
Through the Riepe College House Mentors Residential Program, about 25 Penn students spend at least 90 minutes volunteering each week at Powel. The School relies on volunteers for additional support, especially for the children who may need a little extra time and attention. This type of local engagement aligns with President Amy Gutmann’s Penn Compact 2020.
As the director of the program, Rymes says volunteering as a mentor gives freshmen an opportunity to interact with the community while creating a network of friends.