Editor’s Note: The new director for KidREACH, Lisa Harold, shares her passion for education and the amazing work of volunteer tutors to students with significant educational needs.
Small things can make a big difference, especially when it comes to education.
I was a corporate trainer for a call center. At the end of one training, a newly hired employee came to me and angrily told me he did not have time for homework. He said he was a single parent with two young children at home.
I was sympathetic and let him know that I understood that being a single parent is hard and has a lot of challenges. Then I asked if his children had homework. He looked suspicious as he cautiously said yes. Then I gave a small bit of encouragement that would ultimately make a big difference for generations:
I said, “Perhaps you could gather around the table after school and do your homework together. It would be a way of being a role model and showing your children that learning is a lifelong process. That learning doesn’t stop once you are out of school.”
And so it began. The family gathered around the table and did their homework. Once his new hire training ended, he modeled the notion that learning was a lifelong process by getting his GED. Then he received training to be a culinary chef.
Years later I was at 13 Coins, where he was a chef, and he came out to see me. He told me his oldest was graduating with a B average and going to college. He said his youngest was also getting B’s. I told him that was wonderful.
He proudly said, “You don’t understand. My son is the first person in my entire extended family that has ever so much as graduated from high school. And he’s getting B’s and going to college.”
Empowering people through education is the greatest opportunity to free people from the cycle of poverty that I am aware of. It’s why I’m humbled and honored to be the new KidREACH Director.
KidREACH provides free tutoring to children who not only struggle academically, but also often are dealing with the obstacles associated with poverty. However we do more than provide tutoring. We are present with the children and their families and show them the love of Jesus through our words and actions.
It’s not unusual for a student to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated when they begin with KidREACH. But they quickly realize they are loved and supported. Children become motivated to learn when they feel cared about. It makes a big difference.
Volunteer tutors develop deep, caring relationships with the students they work with. Most tutors do not have a teaching background. They take time out of their busy days week after week. Many start with a student when they are in kindergarten and stay with them for years.
Tutors delight in the “aha!” moments that take place when their students finally grasp concepts. They have a passion for this ministry and wish they had more time with each child. They wish there were more tutors because the need is so great.
Small things make a big difference. KidREACH tutors do millions of small things, week after week, year after year. It makes a big difference.
If you would like to learn more about this tutoring ministry or would like to be involved, please contact: belpres.org/getconnected