September 19, 2014

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Homework help is just a library away

LORAIN — Area students have an excellent learning resource right at their fingertips.

For the past two years, the Homework Help Center at the main branch of the Lorain Public Library has been fostering an environment of creativity for kindergarten through eight-grade students and helping them with school work.

The center, which operates 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday, provides children with a quiet place to study where they can have access to computers, homework supplies and one-on-one assistance from volunteer mentors.

Frances Johnson, outreach services supervisor for the Lorain Public Library System, said the program attracts different students from week to week, but the children who consistently take advantage of what it has to offer show greater improvement.

“We like to see the same kids coming, because the kids who come on a regular basis show us their grades at the beginning, then show us again after a month or two, and those grades have definitely improved,” Johnson said.

One of the most important resources the program provides is time for individual attention, Johnson said.

Kimberly Royale, a Lorain resident and mother whose daughter Shian has been coming to the Homework Help Center for more than a year, said it has helped the 10-year-old become more interested in doing homework and more enthusiastic about school.

“It’s sad to see just a handful of kids show up,” Royale said. “More people should take advantage of this program, because it keeps children busy and gets them focused on homework right away before they have to start extracurricular activities.”

Johnson runs the program with the assistance of community volunteers who share their time and knowledge with student participants. Volunteer and retired Ford Motor Company employee Jay Bailey was inspired to get involved after learning about the educational status of students within the Lorain City Schools.

“Seeing as how bad the city said students were doing, and with me having idle time and having done well in high school, I decided to volunteer,” Bailey said. “Many people say a bad home life is another reason for bad grades, and I think showing kids someone cares enough to spend time with them can also help.”

Betty Pekare, a volunteer and Lorain City Schools retiree, worked as a homeschool teacher, school psychologist and tutor for learning-disabled children before donating her time to the library. Pekare said she enjoys seeing the improvements and progress the children make.

“The kids are so full of energy,” Pekare said, “When they’re able to come in and show us improved grades, their attitudes improve as well.”

NEED HELP?
To learn more about the Homework Help Center or to get involved, call the Lorain Public Library Outreach Services Dept. at (440) 244-1192, ext. 245, or (800) 322-READ, ext. 245.

Contact Jill Simonson at 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.