St. Christopher Episcopal Church’s after-school tutoring and enrichment program is in its ffth year. In August, representatives of the parish met with the principal of Edgewood Elementary School and established goals and expectations. The students started Oct. 6. Nine students attend twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday. All students have academic defciencies and need tutoring in reading or math. They all have strengths as well. The tutors are trying to enrich, develop and use the students’ strengths to help with overcoming their weaknesses. Working with them oneon-one helps us discern these strengths and weaknesses and better meet their needs. One of the strategies is repeated reading from specialized reading material. It is a highly effective tool. However, it can only be done one-on-one.
The program has five or six wonderful volunteers at each session, but could use two or three more on a regular basis to listen to the children read. Four students returned from last year. The tutors could see firsthand the amazing progress these four students made within the nurturing, one-on-one environment. The students rarely miss a session and the parents seem to be pleased. Tutors pick up the students in the church van, feed them a hearty snack and start each session with a prayer. Volunteers drive the van, prepare the snacks, tutor or provide any other means of support. Juanita Cook and Lauretha Kellum are co-directors of the program.
Throughout 2015 and into 2016, members of St. Christopher provided weekend snack bags on several occasions for 40 to 50 children at the Neighborhood Center across from Mary C. Snow Elementary School on the west side of Charleston. It is a joy to cook and provide monthly dinners for the children at the Neighborhood Center during the winter, spring and fall. Many volunteers from St. Christopher help plan, cook, deliver and visit with the children. Monday night mentoring takes place throughout winter and spring with the Sisters to Sisters program ongoing at the Neighborhood Center.
Last year, several St. Christopher women worked with groups of girls studying the United States, Mexico and India. The effort culminated with a tea party at the Neighborhood Center on a Saturday in May, with special food and costumes and explanations by the students of the countries studied.
At a Neighborhood Center Christmas party, in St. Christopher provided the drinks and cookies for the large crowd in attendance. In addition, 39 new winter coats collected and donated by St. Christopher parishioners were given out to and happily received by the Neighborhood Center children so that each child had a warm new coat for the winter.
Serving on the Neighborhood Center ministry subcommittee are Mike Anderson, Elaine Chiles and Deborah Rodecker. The Rev. Melissa Remington, rector, said, “ All of these efforts let the families and children of Mary C. Snow Elementary and Edgewood Elementary school and community know that we care about their future and are happy to be a part of and serve this valued community of the west side of Charleston.”