The group of tutors at Andrew Jackson have just wrapped up their second year of acting as “reading buddies” to grades 1 – 7 at the Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia. More than twenty people, most from the FirstU church, went to the elementary school at 12th and Federal Streets once a week to meet, read, and instruct (math) with more than 50 students. Some worked one-on-one with the children, and some went into the classrooms to support the teachers. Others have spent many hours this past year getting the library up and running. Many congregants of the FirstU church contributed school supplies and books for the library. We, the children, and the staff/faculty of the school all express deep satisfaction with the FirstU-AJ School connection, and we intend to return when the new school year begins in the fall.
As we have worked with the students, we have discovered gaps in their knowledge and in our own. As a result, some of us will be learning ourselves over the summer as we strengthen our reading instructions skills. If you are interested in learning more about this, contact Sharon Tomalin at firstname.lastname@example.org. No teaching experience necessary!
Another, smaller contingent of FirstU volunteers have elected to help children, teens and adult students study for their courses in school and community college under the aegis of AchieveAbililty, a social service agency in West Philadelphia.
All of these projects are part of the Social Justice Ministry theme of Education/Literacy over the past three years. A new theme – Food Justice – has been selected for emphasis by the congregation, but our Ed/Lit projects will continue as on-going social justice outreach.