Oct. 18, 2002 – Administrators of a federally funded program designed to curb crime and improve the quality of life in crime-ridden areas are looking for tutors to help schoolchildren in Bovoni with their homework and to help school dropouts obtain their high school diplomas.
Zelda Williams, program manager for the Weed and Seed program at the Housing Authority's Estate Bovoni office, says she wants the homework tutors in place on Nov. 4 and those to work with students enrolled in the program's GED classes at the first of next year.
"For some reason, tutors are hard to hold onto," she said.
Nonetheless, Williams said she will continue seeking out those able and willing to help students who live at the Bovoni housing community and the surrounding area from the Nadir Esso gas station to Bolongo and want to take advantage of the free tutorial assistance. "In this community, we have a large population of children," she said, "and a homework-assistance program is essential because we have a lot of single-parent families."
Up to 500 elementary school-age children are believed to live in the area. Williams said most of them go home after school to empty apartments where they are expected to finish their homework by the time their parents get home from work. She said if she can recruit enough tutors to prod the youngsters into meeting their parents' expectations, it would do a lot to relieve stress in the family.
After-school programs providing homework help have been around in Bovoni since the mid-1990s, when the Boys and Girls Club opened a center there. Last year, with the help of the U.S. Justice Department, which sponsors Weed and Seed programs nationally, high school student volunteers from the Peer Helpers Tutorial Monitoring Program added their efforts.
Williams noted that the time student tutors put in can count toward meeting the community service component needed for graduation in the public school system.
The program also is getting assistance from members of Rotary Club East.
Tutoring sessions are held from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. So far, 35 youngsters have signed up for help, Williams said.
Two instructors have signed on for the Weed and Seed GED program that is to start in January, and more are needed. The program will accommodate up to 30 persons seeking their high-school equivalency degrees. Three courses will be offered: GED test preparation, computer training, and successful job seeking Classes will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Anyone interested in becoming a Weed and Seed tutor for either program is asked to call Williams or Petra Phipps at 714-0812.

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