"We just concentrate on how to get along and not fight or bully," said Young. The peace talks usually focus on overcoming prejudice, religious differences and other social problems.
Commandments and crosses lines the walls behind computers in the makeshift classroom. The coalition does not emphasize religion, but the church provides a warm, safe place for the program.
Last week, Veronica Wheeler, 9, looked up from a page full of numbers. "Guess how long will this problem will take?" she asked.
Anne Carden, her tutor, smiled and said, "20 seconds."
Veronica divided 5 into 785, her brow bowed with intense thought. She tapped her pencil, scribbled and smiled. She had the answer in 17 seconds.
"The only thing in school I like is math," she said.
Carden, who is retired, said she has been a tutor for two years. "I can't imagine anything more worthwhile than to encourage these young people to want to do their schoolwork," she said.
Beside her, Robin Morris is helping Veronica's twin sister, Valentina. Morris, who has tutored Fountaindale Elementary School students for almost three years, said the program teaches children respect.
Mary Cosgrove began tutoring at the church six months ago. "It's a good thing that happens here," she said. Cosgrove said she sees results in the kids' language and the way they deal with conflicts.
Other volunteers believe in the power of positive reinforcement. "If they know somebody is interested and is willing to help, that makes a difference," said Ann Doleman, a teacher for 25 years who is now a licensed practical nurse.
The program is open to children between kindergarten and ninth grade, according to Young. The average weekly number of students is about 22, Young said, and more volunteers are always welcome. Call (301) 665-1747 for information.
The tutors usually focus on work provided by the students' teachers. Justin Black, 11, said he's noticed a difference since he started coming in December. "I've been getting better grades and everything," he said. "I've been doing better in school."