The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

April 26, 2013

First Presbyterian tutoring program motivating for its teachers

ENID, Okla. — Now completing its 15th year, the First Presbyterian Church tutoring program still is exciting for teachers, said the Rev. Andrew Long, pastor.

The program meets every Wednesday from October to April and is a collaborative effort that places adult tutors with students in third, fourth and fifth grades.

“Tutors come from within the community and represent the same diversity and uniqueness as the students they tutor,” said Gail Wynne, program’s organizer.

The students arrive after 3 p.m., have a snack and devotional, then spend an hour with their tutors. Students have transportation from school and to their homes.

“Students bring work from their teachers or study math or vocabulary cards with their tutors, and many end their session with games,” Long said.

Long is a first-year tutor.

“My student and I work about a half hour on spelling or math, then we spend the final half hour playing a game,” he said. “It’s really amazing how something as simple ‘Candyland’ or ‘Monkeys in a Barrel’ can educate a student as much as a textbook or a worksheet.”

He said the games teach students strategy, reasoning, memory and fairness, which are skills that last a lifetime.

Organizers say the key to the program’s success is the commitment of so many tutors through the years, who utilize the program as an opportunity to mentor a young person. It provides a safe, positive environment in which young people can learn, and opens chances to form bonds with each other and with their adult tutors.

Long said as a tutor, the program is beneficial for him, too. He participated in tutoring programs from elementary school through college, and as a tutor he continues to learn as a result of the interactions he has with students. Seeing a child eager to learn, who looks to a tutor for guidance and positive encouragement, is beyond words, he sad.

“I thank God for programs like this and those who make them possible,” Long said.

The 15th year ended with a trip to Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse on Wednesday, as a way to remind the youths learning can be fun. The church sends each child in the program to Dwight Mission Camp, along with a sleeping bag and supplies. Through the generosity of people in the church and the community, Long said, children go to a week at camp to learn about God and each other.

Tutors always are needed, Long said, as are those willing to be substitute tutors.

“The only thing that is required is a love of children, a good amount of energy and a willingness to learn as much as you teach, “ he said.

Anyone interested should contact First Presbyterian Church at 237-5413.

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