BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (KMSP) - A local nonprofit called YES (Youth Engaging in Success), is starting an afterschool tutoring and mentor program for 4th through 12th-graders where volunteers and mentors visit students’ homes – and it’s completely free.
Instead of shuttling students to a center, the volunteers home showing up at their homes offers a personal touch to make a lasting difference.
Edna Johnson is a single mom with five kids to care for, and she works two jobs and rarely gets to see her kids during the week, let alone help them with homework. By the time they get off the school bus, Johnson's headed out the door to her next job. That’s why she enrolled her 15-, 13- and 10-year-old in the program.
“Kids have different needs, they have different family dynamics and different things they have to come home to,” volunteer Sizi Goyah said.
The focus is on 4th to 12th graders living in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, many who are latchkey kids or from single parent homes. Experienced volunteer mentors like Sizi Goyah show up twice a week at apartment complexes like Autumn Ridge so they can reach as many students as possible in one place. Beyond homework help, executive director Stephen Wreh-Wilson says it's about surrounding each student with a network so they have a better chance to succeed down the line.
“The connect with a host of professionals who they should be thinking like, who they should be acting like, so they already try to experience their futures now,” he said.
Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde says his city is partially funding this initiative because it isn't your typical afterschool program.
“You can have all the programs in the world, but if the kids not there, then nothing's happening,” he said.
And Johnson's kids are already setting lofty goals: One aspires to be a doctor or teacher, one an architect, another a doctor.
If you want to learn more or get involved, head to http://www.yes-success.org/