Church's summer tutoring program receives award


June 27, 1999|By Christina Bittner | Christina Bittner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE SUMMER tutoring program at St. John's Lutheran Church in Brooklyn has received an award for Outstanding Social Ministry from the Baltimore-South Urban Conference of the Delaware-Maryland Synod's Division for Church and Society of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

The free program works to improve the reading skills of neighborhood children. It was organized in 1990 by members of St John's congregation who saw a need in the community and wanted to do something about it.

Suzanne Freed, the program's director, along with Leslie Schell, a reading specialist with Anne Arundel County's school system, and Howard County special education teacher Dona King lead 20 volunteers who tutor 35 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade.

"We started out with four students in the beginning, went up to 20 and this year we're overwhelmed. It's grown every year," said Freed.

The program is held Thursdays from 6: 45 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. through Aug. 5 at the church. Every session is divided into two parts. For 50 minutes, youngsters work on improving their skills with Schell and King. After a break, the pupils work one-on-one with a reading tutor, reading books chosen by the child.

It wasn't difficult to find children to participate. Freed visited schools to spread the word. Pupils from Maree G. Farring Elementary, Park Elementary, Belle Grove Elementary along with St. John's own school are taking part.

"The librarians at the Brooklyn branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library also recommended students," said Freed. "Parents hear about the program and call to enroll their children. They can't get over that it's free."

Parents aren't alone in praising the program; teachers notice improvements that pupils make over a summer. "The principals are very complimentary," said Freed. "They can tell that we've worked with the students. The teachers give us information on the students' strengths and weaknesses and areas where they need to work. We have two professional teachers working with us. The students have the benefit of the teachers' teaching, and both are volunteers."

The theme for this year's session is "Take the Mystery Out of Reading." Each week the youngsters solve a mystery through reading. "Maybe they will have to look up words in the dictionary, or read a billboard or a newspaper to look for clues. We have a theme each year, and have noticed that they like it," said Freed.

It seems that the pupils more than like it; some come back year after year. And the tutors do more than help to improve reading skills. They serve as role models, proof that people care about the needs of others and are willing to share their time and talents to benefit other people.

"It's very gratifying when months after the program is over, a child from the program comes up to us and says, `Remember me?' " said Freed.

Alumni to organize

The Brooklyn Park High School Alumni Association is looking for graduates to serve on an organizing committee.

Alumni from the 1950s to the 1980s have been working to get the organization off the ground. A meeting will be held at 6: 30 p.m. July 5 at Brooklyn Park Library, 1 E. 11th Ave. If you are interested, this is the meeting to attend.

All BPHS alumni and faculty are welcome. Information: 410- 636-3269 or 410-789-7214.

Grandparents group

The YWCA Support Center of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County will sponsor a Grandparents Support Group from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Park Elementary School.

The meeting is open to grandparents or other relatives who are caregivers and provide full-time care. Park Elementary School is at 201 E. 11th Ave. Information: Claudia Dock, Kinship Care program director, 410-551-2411.

Church trustee event

The Second Annual Trustee Day Celebration of St. John's United Methodist Church will be held at 4 p.m. today.

The speaker will be the Rev. Timothy West, former pastor of John Wesley United Methodist Church in Glen Burnie.

Beginning July 4, the church's summer worship schedule will go into effect. Sunday services will be held at 10 a.m. through Aug. 29.

St. John's United Methodist Church is at 6019 Belle Grove Road. Information: 410-636-4672.

County dance planned

The Arundel Improvement Association will sponsor a country and western dance from 8 p.m. to midnight July 31 at the AIA Hall, 705 Cross St.

Tickets are $10 and include a platter, soda and beer. Music will be provided by John Reader.

Proceeds will support the AIA building fund.

Tickets: 410-789-2192.

Senior news

The Brooklyn Park Seniors Club will meet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow at Brooklyn Park Library, 1 E. 11th Ave. Area seniors are welcome. Information: 410-789-3683.

Dottie Cadden will lead a line dance class at 9: 45 a.m. tomorrow at Morris Hills Senior Nutrition Site, 351 Arundel Corporation Road. Information: 410-789-5807.

40th reunion planned

The Brooklyn Park High School Class of 1959 is planning for its 40th reunion celebration scheduled for Sept. 25 at the Sheraton International Hotel at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Information: (410) 590-5651 or 410-636-3997.

Science program

The Maryland Science Center's Traveling Science Team will visit Brooklyn Park Library at 2 p.m. Tuesday to present the program, "What's the Matter: Chemistry with Fizz, Foam and Flash." Children in kindergarten to eighth grade are welcome.

Admission is free, but seating is limited. The library is at 1 E. 11th Ave. Information: 410-222-6260.

Exercise programs

Need to let off a little steam? How about cardio-kickboxing? Harbor Hospital Center will sponsor a cardio-kickboxing class from 5: 15 to 6: 15 p.m. Fridays July 9 through Aug. 13 at the Life Resource Center.

Cardio-kickboxing is "karate with a twist." It burns calories while you chop and kick your way into shape.

The cost is $25, or $20 for members of the hospital's Advantage program.

Information: 410-354-9655 between 8 a.m. and 4: 30 p.m.

Pub Date: 6/27/99

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