Back to School
Issue 8, Vol. 2
August 13th marked the first anniversary of New Hope’s after school tutoring program in Azalea Park. Last August, we began with six students. This year, we started with 28 students, with an additional eight students on the waiting list! Last year, our program was two days a week. This year it is three; Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. We thank God for the growth we have experienced and for His divine favor and His blessing.
Before this school year began, Kris went through the neighborhood to re-enroll last year’s students. After she had given a permission form to one of the moms and was having a conversation with her, another mom three houses down signaled for Kris to come on over to her house. Kris went over to see what that mom wanted. The mom introduced herself to Kris and said that she would like to sign up her boy for our tutoring program. We had never met that mom before, but she had heard about our program and decided that she wanted to enroll her son. Over the next few weeks, this scene was repeated two times. After the school year started, three more families came to the J C James building to sign up their children as well. Sometimes it is said that “the parents don’t care.” These six new families signing up their children for tutoring tells us that the parents in Azalea Park do care and given the chance, they want to give their children the resources that will help them succeed.
The week before school, New Hope was delivering back packs full of school supplies (donated to us from Love, Inc.) to our participating students. As we were passing out the back packs, two fourth grade boys road their bikes up to us. They asked if they could join our tutoring program. We told the boys yes, but they would need to have their parents to sign a permission slip before they could come. At the time, we didn’t have any forms with us. Over the next week or so, despite Kris and I forgetting the forms several times, the boys maintained their persistence about joining.
Tuesday, August 14th, was their first day of tutoring. Those two fourth graders worked on their home work from 3:30 to 5:00 pm non-stop. They didn’t even go outside to play with the other kids at 4:30. They stayed and finished all their work. When it was time to go home, they asked, “Why don’t we have tutoring on Wednesday?” When Thursday came, those two boys repeated Tuesday’s performance. When the day was over, they again asked, “Why isn’t there tutoring on Friday?”
Last week, we asked a group of kids from our tutoring program, “What is something that you are worried about?” One of the kids had recently had his bike stolen, so we expected to hear comments about losing their toys. Their overwhelming responses went along this line: “That I won’t get into college,” “That I won’t be able to get a good job when I grow up,” and “That I won’t graduate High School.” Our jaws dropped. These kids really want to learn!
Our difficulty will never be finding elementary school kids who want to learn. Without promoting our program in the neighborhood we already have eight children on our waiting list. The difficulty will always be finding tutors for our kids. After ministering to those in need in his own day, Jesus put it this way, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37, 38)
Thank you for you interest in and support of New Hope’s ministry. Please continue to pray that God will indeed send us laborers.