Volunteers invited to be part of tutoring program
Volunteers are needed for a tutoring program that is sponsored by the Union County Alliance of Churches, UCAC.
Dr. Sue Spellman of Jonesboro has run the program since its beginning 14 years ago at the First Christian Church of Anna. What started with five or six kids being aided in their studies quickly grew too large for the church.
UCAC began sponsoring the program and helped to recruit tutors. Even with the alliance’s help, the waiting list has always been filled with students.
Spellman stressed that tutoring isn’t just a job for teachers. “We’ve had high school kids, college kids, all the way up to, we had a 90-year-old one time,” Spellman said.
Volunteers must be responsible, patient, willing to mentor and be interested in the success of the child. Anyone in 9th grade or older is eligible to tutor. Background checks will be conducted on those who apply.
Spellman is in charge of training volunteers and helps them throughout the school year. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in reading, training in learning and behavioral disabilities and a doctorate in teacher education.
Tutoring is given to students in kindergarten through 8th grade in all subjects. Kids do not need to be involved in a church to receiving tutoring. Students are often referred to the program by teachers and parents. Some simply want help to get better grades.
“We have seen great improvements, with some kids getting on the honor roll, and that’s exciting. That’s what keeps us going,” Spellman said.
“We can change the life of a child for the better,” she added. “We see improvements in attitude and discipline.”
Students meet with their tutors two days a week for an hour, either Mondays from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, or on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Anna.
Students and tutors don’t meet at their schools, so kids don’t have to worry about the stigma that is often associated with needing tutoring. The church building locations allow the kids to ask questions and the tutors to talk about God if they choose.
The program runs from October to May each school year.
Those who would like to volunteer to tutor or sign up a child for tutoring can contact Spellman at 833-5381, Pete Housman at 833-7083 or any UCAC pastor or secretary for forms and information.