Homework Club Success and Needs

The church’s venture into educational community outreach, the Homework Club, appears to be a big success.  God pushed us into this ministry using at least four different people, with only one from this church.  The first nudge came from a neighbor’s grandson.  The boy was riding his bike in the lower parking lot late last summer and asked if he could please play basketball in the church’s gym.  He relayed that one time a person allowed him to do that and he enjoyed it immensely.  The person receiving his latest request was just leaving the building, but promised to consider his request at a later date.

The second prompting came about a month later from a member of St. John’s Orthodox Church.  She wondered if our gym could be used to minister to the local trailer court children who had no large spaces in which to play.  The very next weekend, at a Recycle for a Reason sale, a teacher from Fire Lake Elementary school asked if we might consider opening our building in the afternoons to help the neighborhood children who were struggling with their homework.

These promptings were certainly synergistic, but without a sprinkler system, having a regular program for kids didn’t seem possible.  That’s when the fourth sign came (sometimes God does more than tap one on the shoulder).  A UMCC member learned that by designating the gathering as a club meeting, sprinklers wouldn’t be required.

When God’s “push” was brought to the attention of the Church Council, an exploratory team was organized to investigate the idea.  After seven weeks of intense planning, the program was launched.  The target audience was first through fifth graders from Fire Lake Elementary school.  The original goal was 20 children, which was exceeded in the first four days.

Presently, 30 children scramble off the bus at 3:50 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and charge up the church’s driveway with shouts and smiles.  After a generous snack, the children “get the wiggles out” and then buckle down to homework.  With the help of our monthly recycle sales, school supplies and library books are provided.  After completing homework, the children enjoy a time of free play in the gym and organized games on level two, both involving large motor activities.

So far, 11 volunteers have provided the students with assistance and guidance.  Some work only one afternoon a week, but some dedicate two and a half hours on both Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The number of volunteers is adequate, but there would be trouble if two volunteers were sick on the same day.  The program would definitely benefit from a reliable list of substitutes.

If you would like to visit, learn more about this program, or volunteer for the project, please email homeworkclub@umcchugiak.org.