Church offers free tutoring

Published 9:08 pm Monday, November 22, 2010


Niles Daily Star

A caring woman saw a serious need among many children in her community, so she decided to set up a program to benefit them.

On Tuesday, Oct. 19, Keenan King started the second annual tutoring program at Spiritual Vision Church of God in Christ in Niles under the leadership of Pastor Elijah Thompson III.

“I didn’t think that there was any free tutoring in any school system, so I went on, but it was changing,” King said.

The church is open every Tuesday for any child who needs extra help with any subject he or she might be struggling with.

“We tutor students from fifth grade through high school,” King said.

There is no limit to the number of kids who can come in order to get a little extra help.

“Although there are a lot of kids who come, we are always looking for more,” King said.

King explained how she chose the people on her staff.

“I wanted to find a tutor for my daughter, so I talked to the principal at her school,” she said. “He gave my phone number to a professor at the University of Notre Dame, and the professor called me back, saying that they had found a tutor for her, and then I asked if he could help with the program at my church. ”

One of the tutors was more than happy to help when he heard about what King was trying to do.

“I started tutoring E’Lexus (Daniels) and really enjoyed it,”  Notre Dame junior Ryan Dolan said. “Her mother, Mrs. King, talked with me about tutoring at her church in Niles. She did most of the work by recruiting children from the neighborhood and from her congregation. I brought some of my friends at Notre Dame up to tutor, and we got started.”

Although many children may struggle with several different subjects, there seems to be one particular subject that causes them the most trouble.

“I think they struggle the most with math,” Dolan said.  “For most of the other subjects, they can just look up the answers in their textbook or on a computer. For math, they have to have a working understanding of the concepts and how to apply them to different problems. ”

To Dolan, the program means more than just helping kids to do better in school. It is also a way of keeping him grounded.

“It’s so easy to be absorbed in the college bubble and get too wrapped up in our exams, papers, assignments and various other commitments,” he said. “Tutoring these kids reminds us of where we were 10 years ago and that education is a blessing.”

Even though the tutors work hard to make the program a success, it will take the cooperation from the kids to make that goal possible.

“We do our best to help on a weekly basis,” Dolan said, “but ultimately, it comes down to their individual efforts on a daily basis to learn.”

Dolan said being able to tutor kids is the most important time of the week for him and his friends.

“It’s a highlight of our week to spend time with children that are bright and eager to learn,” he said. “It’s hard not to feed off their energy and want to help them in any way we can. ”

There are several kids who are happy they come to the tutoring program.

“The tutors are nice because they help me with my math and reading,” Leeza Murphy said.

Some kids even raised their grades since they have been coming to the program.

“I was getting lower grades because I had trouble with math,” said  E’Lexus, “but ever since Ryan has been tutoring me, I understand it more and my grades have improved.”