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Glenwood Tutoring: One Child at a Time

Published: Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, February 3, 2010 20:02

On the corner of Lee and Dick Street. in Greensboro, is Grace Community Church. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after school, the sounds of children talking and laughing can be heard from the playground behind the church; the cars of UNCG students and other tutors parked in front of it. From 4:30-4:50 the tutors and students are together and participate in various activities such as basketball, jumping rope, swinging, or just running around acting crazy and having fun. Then from 5:00-5:50 everyone goes inside, and each student spends an hour of one-on-one time with a personal tutor—doing homework, reading, and bonding with someone who cares about them. At 6:00, the students gather their things to go, and as they leave, are each handed a snack bag provided by the Glenwood Tutoring Program.

Six years ago, the Glenwood Tutoring Program began in Marshall Benbow’s living room. Marshall was the outreach pastor for UNCG’s Intervarsity program, and in an effort to reach out to the Glenwood community where he and his wife lived, they began inviting kids from the neighborhood over after school to hangout, eat snacks, and get help on their homework.

This provided the kids with a productive after-school activity where they received love and attention from adults who were interested in their lives. What started as a handful of kids and UNCG student tutors grew as word spread into 60 kids and full-fledged outreach program.

The tutoring program is offered to students, grades K-12, who live in Glenwood and the surrounding communities within a five-mile radius. Nearly all the kids are from low-income, single-parent homes, and attend Peck Elementary, Jackson Middle, or Smith High School. The kids no longer fit in Marshall’s living room, so they meet at Grace Community Church. The church is currently sponsoring the program, but they have recently applied for a non-profit status and will hope to achieve it by this fall. For now, the church provides a space to meet, bus and van transportation for the students being tutored, snacks for each day of tutoring (three per week), reading books, and some always-needed school supplies for each child. Two parties are also held for the students and tutors each year, one at Christmas and the other at the end of spring semester.

Parents of the Glenwood kids, as well as UNCG students, are encouraged to be involved with the tutoring program. Childcare is provided for parents and tutors with small children. There are currently three parents who participate as tutors, and one parent who is a “Room Mom” and serves on the Board for the Non-Profit. Tutors are encouraged to spend time with their students outside tutoring, as a further way of connecting with them. The tutoring program is mainly about building relationships between students and tutors as a means of enriching the lives of the kids involved. Suzanne Mathis, the current director on staff for the tutoring program at Grace Community Church, lives in the Glenwood neighborhood and is very involved in the kids’ lives. She says, “I couldn’t make the education difference I wanted to in the classroom, so that’s why it’s such a blessing to use the creative teaching style I learned from the Deaf Education program at UNCG, in inner-city ministry.”

Glenwood Tutoring Program is always looking for more tutors. For those interested in getting involved, please contact Suzanne Mathis at [email protected] or go online to the program’s website at

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