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[February 05, 2013]
Logan County tutoring program seeks assistance
Feb 05, 2013 (Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Tess Bellamy wants to be a nurse when she grows up.
"They make a lot of money, and they help people," the 12-year-old Russellville girl said.
Getting good grades is an important part of achieving her goal. For two years, Tess has gone to the Concerned Citizens of Logan County's tutoring program in the nonprofit organization's East Fifth Street building.
"I felt like I needed to help people and get help from Miss Dorris," said Tess, referring to Concerned Citizens Executive Director Dorris Vick.
Although the program has existed for more than a decade, it is struggling because of a lack of funding, which makes it difficult for the 501(c)(3) charitable organization to hire a grant writer to get the money it needs to thrive. Vick strives to find other ways to keep things going.
"We've had a fundraiser at McDonald's every month. We're at Ski Daddy's (restaurant) once a month," she said. "We're getting very little donations right now. We've been going in our pockets to make it work. That's what we're going to do as long as we can. God is providing." The program meets from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday. It helps 25 children in grades one through 11. Some of the children are referred for tutoring by the school system.
"We're trying to let them know how important it is to sit down and learn. A lot of these kids are having to go back to the basics," Vick said. "Some of these kids really want to learn. It just breaks your heart." The program assists Russellville students with math, reading, homework and whatever subjects they may need help with. Concerned Citizens also provides transportation for students who need it.
"Most of the kids don't have a way," she said. "If you don't go get them, they're not going to be able to come." The students use the free Khan Academy website at www.khanacademy.org to help them learn about almost any subject. There aren't enough computers to go around, though.
"We only have five working computers right now. Each (student) has 30 minutes and we rotate. We have to give them a time limit," Vick said. "We don't put the young kids on the computer. We're just working with them. We're mainly letting kids from fifth grade on up get on it. Hopefully, we can get more (computers), and we can get all of them on it." Just keeping the lights on also challenges the organization. If the utilities aren't paid, then the program as well as Concerned Citizens' other projects, which include a food bank, wouldn't be able to operate.
"The utilities alone are $800 a month," Vick said. "We have a whole bunch of stuff going on." Because there are so few volunteers to help tutor the students, some of them help each other with homework.
"We have some kids in here who are really advanced," Vick said. "We let them help some of the other kids. There are some honors (students) in there." A well-known Russellville man has been giving the students incentives for getting good grades.
West Kentucky African American Heritage Museum founder and director "Michael Morrow has been giving $2 for every 'A' that they bring him and $1 for every 'B'," she said. "You can't just get the grade, though. You also have to act right in school. They are really motivated behind that. That encourages them." Tess hopes the program gets more funding and donations.
"I'm learning more," she said. "I think that we would have more kids and that our community would grow faster." -- For more information about Concerned Citizens of Logan County, call 270-725-8721.
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