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Homework club lauded

March 04, 2001

Homework club lauded



By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

The AAUW has earned an A-plus for its support of the Homework Club where youngsters gather three days a week at Asbury United Methodist Church on Jonathan Street.

The Washington County Chapter of the American Association of University Women last week donated $300 from its most recent book sale to help the Maryland HotSpot Community project prosper.

"We also provided a set of encyclopedias and many of the children's books that were left over from the sale," said AAUW president Erin Brennan.

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Every spring, the AAUW has a multi-day used book sale at the Washington County Ag Center, selling thousands of books that are donated, collected, catalogued and boxed throughout the year in preparation for the sale.

This year's sale is scheduled for April 25-29.

"With the proceeds, we fund between 10 and 15 college scholarships and a variety of community activities," Brennan said.

In September 2000, the Rev. Yvonne Mercer-Staten approached the AAUW to talk about Asbury's Color Blind Ministry and the Homework Club.

Brennan said the club members were impressed with the pastor, and several AAUW members came for a visit to see the Homework Club in action.

Robbie Matonak, AAUW diversity chairman, said the Asbury Homework Club is the type of project that fulfills the organization's lifetime commitment to education.

HotSpot coordinator Carolyn Brooks said the Asbury Homework Club and another one at Bester Elementary each get $25,000 a year from Gov. Parris N. Glendening's HotSpot endeavor.

Those funds pay for staff and supplies to be used for kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the program, which runs from 2:45 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays at the two sites.

Bester, which has a computer lab, has mostly staff from the Washington County Board of Education paid with HotSpot funds.

Marisa Bowers of the Washington County Health Department's prevention services program, coordinates the Homework Club at Asbury with funds provided by HotSpot.

Siri Young, also of the health department, said a feeding program has been developed because there was a need.

"Kids were coming here hungry," Young said.

Food Resources Inc., a food warehouse for nonprofit groups, provides food for snacks. What's left over is sent home with the children, Young said.

Normally, there are 20 to 30 children at Asbury on any given afternoon. Volunteers, including students seeking community service hours, provide about a 1-5 ratio.

"We keep track of the children and how they improve," Young said.

The AAUW's contribution of books and funds will help the program continue, she said.

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