“My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky,” William Wordsworth said in one of his short poems. Of course, mine does too, but I don’t have to wait for that rare, beautiful phenomenon. I see my rainbows right here at Crescent Hill Baptist. When one of the Karen youth with whom I work on Wednesday afternoons meets me in the hall and smiles or one of the little girls raises her arms and gives me a hug, my heart indeed “leaps up.”
The young people who come to Jason’s tutoring session one afternoon a week need much help with their public school assignments. It amazes me that they come to this country with an entirely different alphabet and no knowledge of English, but in a couple of years they are expected to participate in chemistry or geometry or history – whatever the class may be. These classes are difficult for many students who have been reading and writing English for their entire school life. Imagine how difficult they are for these students who have extremely limited vocabularies. Often they can read the words, but they don’t know what the words mean.
The tutors who work with these young people need not be experts in any of these fields; mainly they help the students read, understand their assignments, and follow the directions. If the students have to write an essay or do some difficult upper level math, Jason finds a tutor who is skilled in these areas. Perhaps one of the most important things the tutors do is convey with their presence that they really do care.
This program is very important for these vulnerable young people. Of course the program requires money for fruit and energy bars when the students arrive and for maintenance of computer equipment, school supplies, and coordination needs. On Wednesday afternoon in the youth room, any observer can see his or her “high way” dollars at work. May I suggest that if you would like more rainbows in your life, you should come join Jason and the volunteers.
--Marjorie Ash, April 2011
(If you have ideas for a future article, please contact Anne-Britton Arnett at 896-2337.)