Heartbreaking discovery leads to call for tutors

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lynn - Publisher
I had my heart broken yesterday.
What started out as a simple lunch with a friend, Ginny Wright, executive director of the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club, turned into a serious conversation about a little boy who has gotten a rotten deal.
Ginny and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over the past several months, and we talk about lots of different things. I could tell she had a lot on her mind, as she always does, but yesterday was a little bit different.
“You know,” she began. “I’ve worked with a lot of children who come from a lot of different backgrounds and circumstances, and I would have told you that I just can’t be surprised any more. But this week, I was surprised.”
I was to learn it wasn’t a good surprise. Quite the opposite.
As we sat there, she told me about a young boy — a sixth grader — who is a member at the Boys and Girls Club and who has gone through the local school system.
He has been through kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade and he is now in sixth grade.
And he can’t read.
There is no learning disability, she said. And it’s not a matter of him not being able to read well.
He can’t read…at all.
How in the world does this happen in our public school system? How does this happen in a family?
How does this happen?
Those are important questions that need to be asked and we should demand answers, not only for our own kids’ sake, but for the sake of all of our kids.
In the meantime, there is a youngster out there who can’t read a milk carton, a book, a medicine bottle or an email.
There is no simple fix, but there is something many of us can do to help children who are in similar predicaments.
Ginny tells me there are lots of children who are members of the Club who could benefit greatly from the help of tutors. The problem is, there just aren’t enough to go around. While they have staff members who help these kids with homework and do as much as they can, they could really use some assistance.
So here’s the deal. If you are a retired teacher, if you having a teaching degree, or if you have worked in or still work in a job that gives you some expertise in various areas of the curriculum, give Ginny a call and offer to volunteer.
We can’t go back and undo the damage that has already been done. But we can help get these children back on track with a bit of help, mixed with some concern and compassion.
These aren’t somebody else’s children. They belong to all of us and one day very soon, our community and our future will be in their hands.
Let’s invest in them now.

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