GREENVILLE — On September 19, a Greenville City school bus stopped in front of Edison State, dropping off 29 Woodland and East School students to participate in Empowering Darke County Youth’s inaugural After School Program, which focuses on tutoring, homework help, and mentoring.
“This After School Program is an amazing tool that inspires and empowers the next generation,” said Edison State student Shayna Emrick. “It gives the children a role model to look up to and a new friend.”
Emrick was among 15 Edison State students who began tutoring younger students in a new program offered at Edison State Community College’s Darke County Campus. Edison State students and adult volunteers were on hand to work with them.
Emrick was not the only one praising the program. Nearly two dozen volunteers who were involved the first week echoed her comments.
Edison State student Kloey Murphey said, “I had a great opportunity to work with kids in this community who needed some extra help. It really is a rewarding program and I look forward to continuing to help.”
“Not only does it help the kids, it benefits all of us who are involved,” she added.
Edison State’s Haley Shuttleworth agreed, saying, “The after school program is a really good program for both the volunteers and the children.”
Andrea Townsend, GCSD Director of Administrative & Pupil Services, was delighted with the enrollment the first week. On Day 1 it was 31 students; by the end of the week, it had increased to 54 students.
“I am thrilled at the response that we have had to the program,” said Townsend. “It is growing each day. I’m excited to see the growth students make while in the program!”
Edison State Darke County Campus Dean Chad Beanblossom, said the program was a great service to the community.
“The work Empowering Darke County Youth is doing in our community is outstanding,” he said. “Edison State Darke County Campus is thrilled to be a part of this tremendous service and we look forward to serving these students in the future. Thanks for all you do!”
According to Program Coordinator Bob Robinson, school administrators and teachers, as well as parents, have long expressed a need for the service.
“Many noted their excitement that something like this is available to our students,” he said.
Empowering Darke County Youth was formed in March and received its non-profit 501c3 designation from the Internal Revenue Service in September. Its first goal was summer tutoring at the Greenville Library, which resulted in seven tutors working with 43 students. Planning for the After School Program began in early August.
“The adults like it,” Robinson said. “But what about the kids? They put in a full day at school, then come here and have to put in another hour or more on homework, tutoring or related activities.”
“They like it,” he continued, “if only for the snacks and entertainment when their work is done. The kids arrive with a smile and leave with a smile. We also have a growing portfolio of happy drawings and notes… one of them is a heart drawn by a third grader that says ‘I love After School Program.’”