Tutoring_Jeremy_Timolee_Jan_2015_Web After school tutoring

"Make your ear attentive to wisdom and your heart inclined to understanding" (Proverbs 2:2).

Grace After-school meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 – 5:30 p.m. when Johnston County Schools are in session. The ministry serves West Clayton Elementary School students who live in the Alta neighborhood on Highway 42. Volunteers from Grace help with their homework and school projects. Once they are completed, the tutors work with them on reading, writing and math skills. Although some have no experience, they quickly get the hang of it.

Nacy and Gloria said about their first experience. “While there was initially some trepidation on our part about knowing what to do and how to help the children, we soon found that we only need to provide structure and support for them. They know what to do and we were able to work together as a team to complete their assignments.” While the children, such as Mildred, improve academically, the volunteers fell deeply rewarded, too.

Another tutor Pat says, “Tutoring is very satisfying even though I have never been an elementary school teacher. The children we are working with at Grace are all so very bright and appreciative. I actually feel as though they are teaching me. The kindergartener that I am working with loves numbers and her face lights up when she is counting to 100 (yes this kindergartener can count to 100 by 1's and by 10's). I only hope that I can keep her interested --she moves so fast.” Although academic improvement is a main goal of the ministry, relationship building is also essential.

Tutors spend time each session asking the children about their day and their life. Our pastor talks in Spanish with the parents and visits their homes to understand their family situations and to learn how the church might support them.

The idea for Grace After-school came from the vestry’s annual planning retreat in the spring of 2014. Since the church had a number of members who were involved in education, the vestry thought that this would be a way to serve the community. Members of the vestry began a nine- month planning process before starting the ministry in January 2015.

Grace Episcopal offers the after-school tutoring as a service to the community. Neither the students nor parents need to be members of the church. The tutoring is offered free of charge.

Grace welcomes members of the community who would like to participate in this ministry. In accordance with diocesan guidelines, all volunteers undergo background checks and Safe Church training to insure a safe environment for children and tutors. Tutors commit for a semester at a time one day a week although they may tutor both days. If you would like to volunteer or donate to this ministry, contact ministry co-ordinator Timolee Dohner.