The Tuesday Tutoring Program at the West End Presbyterian Church is in its sixteenth year and is currently looking for more volunteers to work one-on-one with students.
Students from West End Elementary and West Pine Middle are selected by the schools for the Tutoring Program which is comprised primarily of those with a Hispanic background for whom English is a second language.
Because English is not the first language for most students, homework can prove to be difficult – especially coming from homes where one or both parents do not speak English.
At Tuesday Tutoring, volunteer tutors are able to work one-on-one with students to help them with their studies. Tutors are from the local community and no special experience is required to become a tutor – other than an interest in helping children.
Students begin arriving at the church around 2:30PM and leave around 4:30PM, giving tutors an ample amount of time to spend with the children. A snack is also provided to them at the facility.
There are currently thirty-eight children who attend the program ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade.
A church mission trip in 2002 sparked the interest for this progam. Founders and first leaders were Norma Walters, Judy Kullberg, Noreen Sawyer, and Anna Stevens. Anna is an instructional specialist with Moore County Schools and among her responsibilities is coordinating ESL programs.
Facilitator Laura Pitts has been overseeing the program for years. Several middle school students have been in the program since kindergarten.
“Their minds are like sponges… It’s really fun to see them on the honor roll,” she said. “Normally the children are outstanding in behavior.”
According to Laura, a kindergartener who began coming to the program in September did not know her alphabet or the letters in her name. She can now print her name beautifully.
One of the kindergarten teachers who has students in the program shared their thanks to the volunteers saying, “Thank you for helping my students. They continue to make great strides in their academics. I want you to know that I truly appreciate the great things that you and your church are doing. West End Elementary is very fortunate to have this partnership.”
Not only do students have the opportunity to learn in the program, but they also enjoy the relationship with their tutors.
“They treat you really nice,” one sixth grader said. “They teach in a nice, not-boring way.”
“[It’s nice to be] capable of having people to help you, especially when you’re in a situation when your parents don’t know how to speak English,” another sixth grader said. “These people help you with what you need.”
“If I have trouble with homework, they teach a different easier way to do it,” an eighth grader said.
Laura Pitts is currently looking for additional volunteers, including someone to help with technology as a grant has been received to buy iPads and chrome books to use for students’ homework.
For those who are interested in helping, call the church office at (910) 673-4341 or email Laura Pitts at Laurapitts50@gmail.com.