The Hot Springs Village Angels, a nonprofit group that helps support local veterans and low socioeconomic families, is adding a new focus to its mission in the form of teaching district students.
Every.Kid.Learns Tutoring is a volunteer-based educational program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade that will be offered Tuesday and Thursday, 4-6 p.m., at the Garland County Library and Essential Pathways Inc.
Starting on Thursday, the program will help students with core subjects such as math, science, reading and English, while also providing a little fun.
HSV Angels President Jade Sierra said teaching is a major need right now in schools, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic is winding down.
“I am trying to bridge the gap and support our children,” she said. “For tutoring, I focus on personal support, self-esteem, and self-efficacy — making changes in students’ behavior first: study habits, basic skills, homework support, and other support as needed.”
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Sierra is currently looking for teachers as well as donations to help purchase laptops and other supplies that are still needed. The group is also seeking grant funding.
“It’s an uphill battle trying to piece this together, but our kids are falling through a gap. They’ve been out of school for a long time. These Zoom classes haven’t replaced (learning) head-on,” she said.
“One of the main issues, for example, I have a third grade student who reads at K level. What is affecting now is his self-esteem, because he got a job in third grade but he can’t read. Does he have no clue. Now he has good math skills But he can’t read. So what do you think that would do to a child who is constantly given these things?”
In other words, she indicated that he had no success stories.
“His self-efficacy… does he really think he can do that? So I think one of the biggest things we can do in teaching, besides supporting homework and supporting academic subjects, is changing the position of the student where he wants to get learning. Once he takes the reins Things are, if you want to, you’re free at home. The child will then want to succeed. They will be motivated to do more than just the bare minimum. It’s just a life-changing journey actually,” she said.
The Sierra HSV Angels was formed in response to the enormous needs of the homeless in hot springs. Starting with providing bimonthly laundry opportunities at the Fun Wash Laundry Center, he later added projects targeting veterans like stocking food every Christmas at John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Little Rock.
As a 501(c)(3) organization, all donations are tax deductible.
“We have a three-pronged focus,” she said. “We deal with veterans, we deal with students, we deal with homeless populations.”
Although the tutoring program is set up for personal learning, she understands that there may be a need to access online tutoring as well, noting that “if there really is a child who needs it and they can’t reach me, I may be able to teach or work with them.”
Students are free to bring snacks and drinks with them to private lessons.
“I plan to have a small part of that area where the kids can have some fun,” she said of the space in the library and the base tracks. “We will have computers there because I will be integrating computer learning along with face-to-face teaching. But then I plan to allow the kids some time to have fun. So we are going to mix having fun with academic support.”
With the group starting the program, she said it will take some time to put everything in place.
“As much as I’d like, I can’t do it on my own. (The teacher) is not someone who needs to commit every day of the week or every evening of the week. That’s ‘what I need’ because I make a list of potential tutors,” Sierra said.
“We’re just getting started, so we’re building. We’re building the program and then we have to figure out how to get the news out to the parents. Unfortunately, I’m not on a school site so your child can just stay there and be in the program and then you can take them along. That would be great.” That’s actually a possibility after I talk to school districts, but at this point you have to bring them to one location or another,” she said.
To find out more information about the tutorial, visit http://www.hsvangels.com and click Tutoring Overview and Teaching Timings and Locations, or call Sierra at 817-210-2561 or [email protected]