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By Renee Summers
Telegram Reporter 

Detroit Church's Community Tutoring Program Encourages Young Scholars Broadstreet Presbyterian Church is filling a need

Broadstreet Presbyterian Church is filling a need


March 21, 2019

An old African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child. The congregation of Broadstreet Presbyterian Church may have had that proverb in mind when they noticed a need concerning the children’s academic performance in their community.

Five years ago, church members decided to step up to meet that need and initiated a tutoring program to be held each Saturday afternoon at the church. The program is organized by Sharon and Bernard Oglesby. Sharon Oglesby is the Director of Community Outreach at Broadstreet Presbyterian. Bernard Oglesby has a background in engineering. The two of them together have created an effective program to provide assistance to school-age children to reinforce what they learn in school each week. The program is open to any child and seeks to make learning a bit easier and maybe even fun. Sharon Oglesby says one of the main goals of the program is to instill confidence in children and give their self-esteem a boost when they discover the joy of learning.

Taylor Slayton is a senior at the University of Michigan. She has been volunteering as a tutor to young students since October. She says some students just need one-on-one help and often do not receive it through the Detroit Public School system. Slayton says she enjoys volunteering and tries to inspire the students to learn something they find particularly difficult. “I really like being able to see them learn something new,” she says.

Michael Sacchetti is also a senior at the University of Michigan and enjoys volunteer work. The weekly dedication of the tutors provides the young students with someone they can depend on. “For these kids, this is sometimes the most consistent thing in their weekly lives,” says Sacchetti. He says the satisfaction comes when parents tell about improvement in the student’s school performance or behavior. “That’s really kind of the most rewarding part of the experience, “he adds.

Oglesby says this is the first year U of M has partnered with Broadstreet Presbyterian to provide volunteer tutors. She adds that the church’s program is always looking for volunteers, especially those who have a passion for education. “You have to have a passion for it in order to do it,” she says. The program currently has 15 volunteer tutors, some who are parents.

“I enjoy it so much,” says Sacchetti of his time spent helping younger students.

The tutoring program runs from noon to 2 p.m. each Saturday. Tutors provide homework help when needed. Appropriate study packets are provided to each grade level so students can practice what they are learning in school.

Students receive a healthy snack before studying and a healthy lunch afterward. Nearly 25 students currently take advantage of the tutoring assistance. One need not be a church member or resident to receive tutoring help. “Anyone that needs help, we will assist them,” Oglesby says. “The kids really like it and the reason we know it works is because the students don’t have to come,” she adds. “They have to go to school, but they don’t have to come here—and they do.”

Broadstreet Presbyterian Church is located at 12065 Broadstreet Avenue, east of Livernois and north of Joy Road, in Detroit. For more information, contact the church at 313-933-1344 or Sharon Oglesby at [email protected].


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