Six years ago we went from bus stop to bus stop, inviting kids to come to tutoring at Grace Community Church. I set up at the church and waited with two college students who were going to be our tutors, and no one came. Dejected, I went home, and as I was getting out of the car, three children came walking up the hill, an hour late but headed to tutoring all the same. We soon realized that our church was a bit too far for the kids to walk, and so tutoring moved to our living room, and we hosted a handful of children and a couple of college students each Monday to do homework.Today, I will pull out of the Grace Community Church parking lot in a school bus bought for the tutoring program, and I will pick up 41 of the 52 children enrolled in our program, children who now come two days a week for homework helps and reading enrichment. Waiting on those 52 children each day will be 52 tutors, three Room Moms, several childcare workers (to watch the children of parents who tutor), and a full-time tutoring program director. They will spend half an hour playing on a donated basketball court, laughing and running and jumping, and an hour working with their very own tutor, and for some of them, it will be the second, third, or fourth year with the same tutor. We will have two high school seniors aiming for college, and over 20 middle schoolers. Over 30 young girls will stay after tutoring on Mondays for dance class, and it's possible that in the spring, we will offer our program on Wednesday with an arts enrichment focus, giving the young men something to do as well.
This is nothing short of the grace of God. God's grace to sustain Diane and Melissa and John and me during our first overwhelmed and clueless years. God's grace to provide Regin and her gift of infrastructure, and His grace to provide Suzanne and her gifts of creative education and passion for the kids. God's grace to provide salary for Suzanne, funds for the bus, snacks each week for each child. God's grace and love for these children to send hundreds of volunteers to them. God's grace to give us favor at UNCG, NC A&T, and Bennett College, connecting us with eager and gifted college students, including more and more African-American students. God's grace to provide adult tutors willing to take off of work early, to lug their young kids to Grace, to give of their free time. Amazing. And we have only begun to get good at what we do. Here's to a wonderful year this year.