Saturday, October 25, 2014

Student volunteers make a difference

The Bright Hope Educational Learning Center, located at 2310 Fort Ave., Lynchburg, Va., offers a tutoring and mentoring program in which students can get involved and help train young minds.

Patricia Braxton, executive director, said students are welcome to stop by the center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7 p.m.

“Most of our students require individual assistance,” Braxton said. “About half are reading below grade level. There is a concentration to get them reading on or above grade level.”

According to Braxton, many Liberty University students were unable to return this fall because of scheduling conflicts, but she remembers one student volunteer who left behind a lasting impact.

“One of our prized tutors, Justin, went off to Disney World for an internship,” Braxton said. “Justin was able to break through with one of our students to help them learn sight words and read small sentences.”

Braxton said the tutoring program gives children a sense of belonging, but the volunteers are the ones who receive the greatest benefit.

“For volunteers to be in such a place to give of their time and talents is far reaching in changing the lives of our students,” Braxton said. “They bring hope and excitement to our students.”

Braxton said they have around 15 kids involved in the tutoring program this year. They like to give each tutor no more than three children at a time.

“With more tutors, we will be able to move to a five-day program,” Braxton said. “We are also looking at opening from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. as coverage permits.”

Braxton said she understands college students may not be able to volunteer every day. However, if three students could commit to at least two hours each week, the center could see an increase in their enrollment.

According to Braxton, there are many jobs available for willing volunteers.

“We have Christian education, tutoring and mentoring, clerical, games, Bible study and Sunday school tasks available,” Braxton said. “Even having someone prepare the snacks is a big help.”

For more information on how you can volunteer at the Bright Hope Educational Learning Center, call Braxton at (434) 401-2636.

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