By: Alex Lee
It is Wednesday, 3pm, mid-October. At the local community centre, you could find me sitting with a friend in a room waiting for kids to come in. Two kids would drift in per hour - some bright as ever, some talkative and others somber. Without wasting time, they would quickly get seated in the warm room that was rather dim. Thus, the lesson would begin.
During the school year, this is what I would do every Sunday for 5 hours, tutoring elementary school kids. The kids I worked with were of different ethnicities: Asian, White, Black, South Asian and more. Some were new to Canada and others have been here for a while.
Growing up, my father would tell me stories of his upbringing in poverty. In a time where my dad could not afford paid-tutors he relied on generous people who would teach him concepts he did not understand in school. After hearing about this, I felt inspired to give back to the community and launch my own temporary tutoring program for kids in lower income families.
So why is it important that children in low-income families receive free tutoring? First, classrooms are often overcrowded. With 30+ students in one class, teachers cannot monitor each and every person. Children learn at different paces: some faster, others slower. Specific kids may need more attention than others. As the impoverished students cannot turn to someone that can help them, tutors will be able to assist their individualized and unique educational needs.
More importantly, some schools may not be able to teach essential skills to these kids. Without effective critical thinking, decision making, good study habits, time management, problem solving and more, low-income students face an uphill battle in an already difficult classroom environment. In addition, these are life skills that kids must develop to escape their impoverished community. Tutoring can both teach these skills while providing a safe haven, something poverty stricken children might lack.
Oftentimes we see high rates of gun violence in lower class communities. Sexual assault. Physical and Mental Abuse. People often turn to schooling as a solution. This works…. but it does not work for everyone. School might not teach students crucial life skills and give them the individualized experience they desperately need. That's why I want you to consider joining me in helping to bring easily accessible, free tutoring services to children who live in poverty. Together, we can help transform impoverished communities for the better.