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August 2012 Philanthropy

Homework House

We always like supporting organizations that focus attention on children in the community.  The Homework is exceptional in its dedication to educating and supporting children outside of school.  It is our second time partnering with them. For the month of August, Ode will be donating 5% profits to Homework House.

Can you tell us about Homework House INC and the kind of support the organization offers?

Homework House provides free, individualized tutoring and mentoring for children at risk for academic failure and dropping out of school. We give them a loving and caring environment. We help them improve their literacy skills so they can become productive members of our community. We work towards rekindling their interests in learning and self-improvement, one page at a time.

What is your role at Homework House?
I am Homework House Executive Director and, with Sister Maureen Broughan, a co-founder.

What are some ways for people to get involved or make contributions?
Above all, we need tutors, people willing to spend at least two hours each week during the school year helping an inner-city child with his or her homework. If you can’t commit to giving that time at least one afternoon a week—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday—could you be on call for those days or weeks when our college students are on break and we need substitutes? If you can’t give your time, can you support us financially by a pledge or donation? You might be interested in knowing that our frugality is clear in that the cost of educating a Homework House child is about $1000, one-third of the national average for comparable organizations working in donated space.

Photo Credit: Homework House

What are some of the organizations you’ve worked with in the past?
At Homework House we are proud to say that we work with the elementary schools in Holyoke’s poorest sectors and with the elite and community colleges and universities in the Pioneer Valley. We get support from the city of Holyoke, area businesses, agencies, and churches. We also have a pilot program in Springfield at the Boys & Girls Club.

What are some events you’ve helped organize?
We’ve organized end-of-the-year celebrations for the families of our children, summer camps, a Five Year Birthday Celebration/Fund-Raiser and a Block Party for families, neighbors, and supporters.

What is one of your favorite stories about your work?
One of my favorite stories about our work is that of Elizabeth, a second-grader who hated to read. From fall to spring her tutor tried to win her over, but to no avail. Then one spring day, with the end of the school year fast approaching, Annie remembered that her mother had told her that, if you find a story a child will love, that child will learn to love to read. Raven haired Elizabeth soon loved the story of the three bears. Annie told her the story with puppets, read her the story, and baked cookies for her family of the three bears and Goldilocks. One day in early May, Elizabeth invited Annie to the rocking chair in the reading corner. The second grader carefully opened her book and read, cover to cover, the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Photo Credit: Homework House

What are some of your goals for the future?
We want to continue doing what we are doing, offering individualized and free tutoring to children who, for a variety of reasons all of which are rooted in poverty, are educationally deprived. We want to do it even better than we are doing it now, and we want to be able to accommodate more children who seek our services. Last year even though we tutored 150 Holyoke schoolchildren with the help of more than 200 tutors, we still had children on a wait list. We want to continue; and we want our children to continue their schooling with a taste of success and hope for the future. And we both want and need your financial support so that we can continue.

Are there any upcoming events or programs you would like to mention?
Tutoring. Tutoring. Tutoring. At the end of September we will begin again. Children will come running toward our doors for help. They come from the three poorest sector schools of the sixth poorest city in our country. They are looking for help. We would all love to see your face, hear your voice, have you become part of our Homework House family.

Photo Credit: Homework House

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