Saturday, February 23, 2002

Volunteers wanted for tutoring program

After-school program funded

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — A new after-school tutoring program for youths on Covington's east side is seeking volunteers.

        The program began Jan. 7 at the Jacob Price housing complex with $15,957 in United Way funds previously allocated to the Northern Kentucky Community Center.

[photo] Princess Thomas, 7, reads “Little Red Riding Hood” as tutoring program assistant director Nannie Dandridge observes. Jeniah Ison, 13, (right) does homework.
(Enquirer photo)
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        The Educate to Elevate Jacob Price After School Program and two similar programs started at the Latonia Terrace and City Heights housing projects in October. The programs have dozens of student participants, said Judy Garratt, director of resident programming for the Housing Authority of Covington. They just need volunteers.

        “If someone could volunteer one day a week for two hours, that would help tremendously,” Ms. Garratt said.

        Although each site has a lead teacher and assistant and eight people regularly volunteer at the three sites, about 25 to 30 more volunteers are needed to help children in kindergarten through grade 6 with reading and homework, Ms. Garratt said.

        On Wednesday, the need for more help was evident, as three women tried to help a dozen pupils of varying ages sitting at four tables at the Jacob Price after school program.

        When the adults initially focused much of their attention on the younger children, 13-year-old Jeniah Ison and classmate, Brittany Cowart, also 13, expressed frustration that there was no one to help them.

        “It's tough to keep up when you have so many different ages working at so many different levels,” acknowledged lead teacher Mary Griesemer. When she wasn't listening to younger children read, she was helping Jeniah and Brittany with multiplication problems and ratios.

    About 25 to 30 volunteers are needed for at least two hours a week, 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the after-school tutoring programs based at Jacob Price and Latonia Terrace, and 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the City Heights program. High school and college students, retirees and adults with flexible schedules all are encouraged to volunteer.
    For information, call (859) 292-3262.
        Deana Theisen, who works for the Cincinnati Housing Authority, said she started volunteering at the Jacob Price program three weeks ago, after learning about it on a Web site listing volunteer opportunities.

        “I enjoy this immensely,” the 51-year-old Campbell County woman said. “The kids are wonderful.”

        In July, the United Way defunded the Northern Kentucky Community Center, located in the heart of Covington's African-American community, citing late audits, unpaid utility bills and poor management.

        The charity reallocated those funds to two Greater Cincinnati nonprofit agencies and two collaborative partnerships. Youth Enrichment Services, a partnership of six entities — Children Inc., the city of Covington recreation department, Covington Community Center, Housing Authority of Covington, the Kenton County Public Library System and Literacy in Northern Kentucky — received a total of $84,934 for after-school care and young adult mentoring, tutoring, character development and youth leadership training.

        The Housing Authority of Covington uses its share of the United Way funds to provide the after-school program at Jacob Price, Ms. Garratt said. Besides covering salaries for the two staff members, the United Way money pays for snacks, equipment and supplies, student incentives and field trips on Fridays.

        Other services include a monthly story hour by library staff at the Jacob Price site.


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