A Special Commitment
On January 11, 2000, First Presbyterian began a new mission
Working with members of the Coalition For Youth, county social services, the city police department, and the MARTY agency, our church opened its doors to at-risk young people from 3 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Since opening, the emphasis has changed to tutoring students of all ages who need help with schoolwork. All students work with a tutor for the first 45 minutes that they are there. After that they may continue to be tutored in a specific subject or join the group that is working on various craft projects, play ping-pong, work on computers, or go outside for basketball, football, soccer, or whatever.
Our group of kitchen volunteers provides the students with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, juice, popcorn, fruit, chips, and various other goodies.
Attendance is averaging 25 for the fall of 2004 with an additional 12- plus college and high school volunteers. An average of 11 volunteers from the congregation help out every afternoon. Five other adults (mostly retired faculty from UWEC) also help tutor and direct the craft activities. Our goal is to provide one-on-one tutoring for all of the students. Reduced funding in the schools has meant that many after- school programs have had to be eliminated, and for some schools, 3-5 has provided needed help. And it does get results--parents and schools tell us that it has made a real difference in grades and attitudes!
For the kids, it is a helping hand badly needed in our community. For the members of First Presbyterian, it is a wonderful way to live our faith.