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Coalition wants gaming funds for tutoring program

February 03, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

by Ric Dugan / staff photographer

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Coalition wants gaming funds for tutoring program

Community Enrichment Coalition members plan to use gaming funds to expand a tutoring program for youths in the Jonathan Street area.

Coalition Chairman Gary Graves said Monday he hopes by May to add a second night to the tutoring program and to institute other changes, thanks to $19,145 from the Washington County Gaming Commission.

The coalition's tutoring program started about a year ago, but has grown significantly this school year as students spread the word, Graves said.

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About 30 students in first through eighth grades attend the Wednesday evening sessions at Asbury United Methodist Church, Graves said. That's more than twice the number of students who were attending the one-hour sessions when the school year began.

Board member Ruth Monroe said the coalition's tutoring program is needed, even though at least one other tutoring program is offered in the neighborhood, at Memorial Recreation Center on North Avenue.

The two programs help different children, said Monroe, who runs the recreation center.

Graves said the coalition's program provides more one-on-one tutoring.

The 68 W. Church St. coalition's main goal is to make the Jonathan Street area a safer and better place to live, Graves said.

A new mentoring program will continue that approach and broaden contact with the youths' families, he said.

The coalition's activities include classes held twice a year to teach parents the behavioral signs children might exhibit when using drugs, Graves said.

The gaming funds will enable the nonprofit group to hire someone to coordinate volunteers. The 20-hour-a-week position will pay $13,500.

Having a coordinator will take some of the pressure off board members, who volunteer their time and services to manage the group and help youths, Graves said.

The coordinator will help with the mentoring and tutoring programs and with an annual eight-week summer cultural program for youths.

In previous years, the group's annual budget was $3,000 or less, Graves said.

The gaming funds also will enable the coalition to expand hours of its clothing bank, which is open 10 to 12 hours a week, he said.

The coalition is part of a joint program with Community Partnership of Morgan & Berkeley Counties in Martinsburg, W.Va., which sponsors substance abuse prevention activities, Graves said.

Residents interested in volunteering can call the coalition at 301-665-1747. Clothing donations can be dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday at 68 W. Church St.

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