Hosting a program designed to feed the minds, bodies and souls of area children, Allen Chapel Fellowship Hall dedicates three nights a week to any young person who knocks on the front door. Not only do volunteers supply dinner, tutoring and a literacy program, they even add an enrichment component to the evening.
“We have seen the students’ grades go up tremendously,” said director Kim Vaughn, also the user support specialist for Anderson Community Schools. “One was having problems with math and was earning a D minus. She has brought that up to an A.”
[Photo: AU student Krista Sams works with Jaquayla Cole during the Literacy and After-School Caring and Sharing program at Allen Chapel Fellowship Hall in Anderson.]
Some students need a little one-on-one assistance while others simply require a place to study without distractions.
“I like coming here because I actually do my homework,” said Camille Neal, junior. “If I weren’t here, I just wouldn’t get it done.”
“I like it because I get educated and then get better grades,” said Jaquayla Cole, 10. “If I don’t come here, I get bad grades.”
Alongside the 20 volunteers from the congregation who prepare nutritious dinners, serve the meals and offer homework assistance are a few Anderson University students. Offering their time and expertise provides a dual learning experience.
“My major is secondary education,” said Sarah Warnock. “This age range is what I will be teaching when I graduate. It’s great practice for me.”
Some of the children come for the camaraderie built through spending time together.
“I like being with Sarah,” said Xavia Cullum, 10. “She helps me with my homework.”
The after-school program began five years ago. After experiencing success, the leadership added the Augusta Hawkins Literacy Center materials to better the reading skills of the students.
“This came out of a study commissioned by Congressman Augusta Hawkins,” said the Rev. John Lambert, pastor of Allen Chapel. “He convinced Congress to pass legislation to help students who were underachieving, with an emphasis on minority students.”
“Reading helps them overall,” pointed out Vaughn, director of the Young People’s Department (a division within the African Methodist Episcopal Church) for the state of Indiana. “Reading will help them be successful in everything they do. Every other subject will fall into place if their reading level is where it needs to be.”
- What: Literacy and After-School Caring and Sharing Program
- When: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-7:30 p.m.
- Where: Allen Chapel Fellowship Hall, 1610 Sheridan St., Anderson
- Cost: None
- 5-5:30 p.m. Dinner
- 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tutoring and homework
- 6:30-7:30 p.m. Enrichment (sample topics: Spanish, Bible study, Zumba)
— Emma Bowen Meyer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission. Photo credit: Emma Bowen Meyer.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.