5419 East Broad St.
Columbus, Ohio 43213
Target Groups: Adults
With the combined efforts of the First AME Zion Church and Temple Israel, the fourth graders at Main Street Elementary have started to raise their state-required proficiency test scores and have been part of an ever-evolving mentoring program.
The project started as a mentoring program for the inner-city fourth grade students. It has since turned into so much more. Initially, tutors worked on reading skills with their students for one hour per week. Big Brothers/Big Sisters then provided social work interns to work alongside the mentors. It was very touching to hear a student’s surprise and gratitude that his tutor come back each week. This program helped the students realize that adults are dependable and care about them – plus they get the adults’ undivided attention for one hour a week!
In addition to tutoring, one of the mentors began an after-school cooking club. The response was overwhelming resulting in a waiting list. Local companies donated utensils and money was donated for the cost of food. The PTA took all of the recipes from the program and compiled them into a cookbook that was used as a fundraiser.
By the end of the year, a craft club and science club also were formed by teachers. These clubs harbored a safe environment for the students to develop new skills and relate their learning inside the classroom to the outside.
This program is now part of the Ohio Reads program set up by the governor. It brought together members of both congregations working together on behalf of an inner-city school, opening up so many new doors for the fourth grade students.