12.22.17 | Stories | by Fredericksburg UMC Members
Homework Helpers is a mission established by the SERVE Committee to work with students of English as a Second Language at Hugh Mercer Elementary School in Fredericksburg. These students speak English, but are in ESL to become more proficient. They often need extra help with homework and English practice because many of their parents are not proficient speakers of English. Working with these children is a joy and very satisfying. You do not need to be a present or past teacher. You just need to love children and want to help them to have good, productive lives by having success in school. Tutors work with one to three children at a time, usually one or two. Below are some experiences shared by our members.
Homework Helpers is important to me because I have taught English to parents of children in the ESL classes at Hugh Mercer. They love their children and want desperately to help them, but it’s difficult. They work long hours, sometimes two jobs. Then many of them go to English classes themselves. Also it’s hard to help your children with homework in a language you don’t really understand and in an educational system for which you don’t fully understand the workings. I’ve seen how grateful they are when their children receive the help they need. – Sandy Howson
I really enjoyed tutoring my second grade student from El Salvador earlier this year. His Mother and family had walked through Mexico to get to the U.S. encountering some dangerous situations. His father was currently in Prison and he had some family problems with his siblings at home that he confided to me. He was a smart and conscientious young boy and did well on his homework. He really wanted to really learn and was always asking me questions. - Art Gambell
The two girls I worked with were friends. I soon learned that they could be competitors as well. They had no trouble with Math. One of them told me her father liked to help her with that. That statement alone made me realize how important what we were doing was to both the children and their parents. Certainly, it would be easier for a non-English speaker to figure out what needed to be done with numbers. Although on some days, I felt that we had not made much progress that session, at other times I felt very encouraged by the children's response. Just being there with them, I believe, helped the kids realize the importance of studying, and that people cared about their success in school. - Anne Underwood
My name is Lily Sportsman and I’m a senior in high school. This was my first time doing anything like this and it was amazing, being able to touch the lives of so many students in a positive way was life changing. I saw the same boy for the duration of the program and I was so blessed to forge a relationship with this young man and help him succeed in school. I’m very excited to do this again, I feel God’s touch when I am able to participate in programs such as Homework Helpers through our church. - Lily Sportsman
The kids in this after school club are in the club because they need a little help completing their weekly homework worksheets. The homework was simple math, spelling practice, writing spelling words in a sentence worksheets and reading. The children are full of energy, life and have worlds of potential given the tiny bit of attention and focus that we lent in our 1 hour a week. YES it’s another thing on the calendar, but every week it was the highlight. Kids no matter what their background are very willing to learn and we felt encouraged that we really made a difference. Added benefit ... we learned a lot about dinosaurs and action figures too! –Trish and Bob Vaughan