Lifestyle

Program offers relationships as well as tutoring

We provide free tutoring for all students, kindergarten through high school, in all subjects. This year we have been blessed with the most robust lineup of tutors we have ever had. On average we have at least six tutors each night who can work with students on everything from the most fundamental reading to the most advanced math and science. The student attendance has been a real roller coaster. Some evenings we have as many as 20 students and others we have four or five. We certainly have capacity for quite a few more, so if you know any students who are struggling or just need additional challenges, tell them to come on in.

I want to give a special thanks to all the community folks who participated in the Faith In Action Sunday on Nov. 22. Members from eight different churches in the Enumclaw area went out into the community on that day to put their Faith into Action. One of the projects they undertook was to paint the inside of the tutoring center. We had about 25 folks show up and they painted the entire center in a little more than three hours. To put on the finishing touch, on Dec. 19, we invite students to join us from 9 a.m. to noon to paint murals on three different walls. Everyone is welcome to join us for hot cider, cocoa and lattés.

Here is another story from Monica Goucher, one of our tutors. This story illustrates that the benefits of the tutoring center are not always immediately realized in direct academic success. Sometimes they come in the form of mentoring relationships that can help students in many other ways.

“I’d been tutoring ‘John’ in geometry for almost the entire school year. It wasn’t going well, but we were working through it and doing the best we could. It had become a routine with us; when I showed up at 7, I would tell John to get his geometry out and we would try to work on it together. He had a hard time focusing on the task at hand and would try to socialize, but I encouraged him to ‘get to work.’ Near the end of the school year, we hadn’t accomplished much and I was feeling like a failure. However, John knew my daughter, who was two years ahead of him and attended school with her. One day, John told my daughter about his experiences with me at the tutoring center. He told her, ‘Your mom works with me every Tuesday, and even though I still don’t understand geometry very well, she doesn’t let me get goof around. Your mom is awesome because she makes me do my work and doesn’t let me goof off.’ While I wasn’t satisfied that John didn’t understand geometry any better, I was gratified to know that he realized that I cared enough about him to show up every week and do what I could to help him. Sometimes, it isn’t the tutoring that makes a difference, but rather just knowing that you care about the student. I still see John around town and, even though he doesn’t come to the tutoring center anymore, he still greets me with a smile and we catch up with what’s going on in his life.”

Finally, I want to thank Mutual of Enumclaw for continuing its support of our program through a $5,000 grant and a generous Costco delivery of snacks and drinks for the tutors and students.

Come by to see your community tutoring center and have a latté on us. You’ll be glad you did. Our hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. If you have any questions about our program, call me anytime at 360-825-5014 or visit www.enumclawtutors.org

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Walt Bennett is the founder and CEO of Village Tutors.

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