GREENVILLE – Empowering Darke County Youth had a record 100 student requests for its first week of after school tutoring.
This was a major increase over the 79 received at the beginning of 2017.
Helping Empowering and Edison State tutors get the program off to a good start were Aktion Club members Mandy Grooms and Jesse Younker, who distributed snacks and drinks to the 40 Greenville K-8 students showing up the first day. Treasurer David Olinger and member Matt Strickland had gone on a shopping spree and purchased enough snacks and drinks to last several weeks. Aktion Club is a service program sponsored by Kiwanis of Greenville.
Empowering thanked club members for their generous donation. They have made the snack issue – at least in the beginning – a non-issue. It also was appreciated that they helped distribute the snacks and got to meet the kids they were helping.
According to Empowering Program Coordinator Bob Robinson, all students so far have been confirmed to participate in the program. Resources in 2017 only allowed 59 student confirmations, leaving many students waiting for help.
“Our goal this fall was no waiting list,” he said. “We spent most of August making sure we had the resources and procedures in place to make that goal a reality.
“Assistant Program Coordinator Kay Sloat did most of the heavy lifting,” Robinson continued. “We had discussed how we were going to make sure support materials, and students, were grouped by grade or skill level. She made it happen.”
Attendance during week one ranged from 40 to 49 students, compared to 28 to 34 in 2017. Student needs included reading, comprehension, writing, math and homework. Despite the increase in the number of students, student to tutor ratio was still about 3-to-1.
Although there were student increases at all grade levels, the biggest were for kindergarten and middle school, grades five to eight.
“It was a little chaotic the first couple of days,” Robinson said. “Once we adapted to the different grade level increases, the rest of the week went smoothly and, I thought, successfully.”
Robinson added there will likely be many more students requesting help over the next few weeks.
“We need volunteers,” he said. “We have procedures set up to give volunteers the tools to work with preferred age groups and subject matter. It’s a good system and it is adaptable to changing needs. We just need adults to help us.”
He added that for the safety and comfort of all, volunteers will be subject to background checks.