“If you put a caring adult across from a struggling student amazing things will happen.” — the late Antone Raymus
Chuck Crutchfield has never forgotten those 15 words that Antone Raymus — a man who made his fortune building homes and then shared it to build a community — would say to him and others in his drive to create what is today Give Every Child a Chance.
The free community-based tutoring and mentoring program is now well into its 18th year. What started with a dozen or so struggling kids being helped on a one-on-one basis in 1998 has grown into multi-faceted programs serving 3,573 students last school year across seven districts.
Those programs run the gamut from one-on-one tutoring, the After School Advantage Program and Homework Assistance Program that features small groupings of students per tutor to such endeavors as the Healthy Lifestyles Program.
Crutchfield, who serves as the GECAC Community Outreach Director, and Director of Nutritional Health Christine Hwang shared details of the non-profit tutoring effort with Manteca Rotarians during a meeting Thursday at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room.
Crutchfield noted an independent organization surveying students GECAC has assisted shows that in 2014-2015:
79.2 percent of all students involved in one-on-one tutoring raised their comprehension by at least one grade level.
78.6 percent of all students involved in the Homework Assistance Program raised their comprehension by at least one grade level.
72.7 percent of all students involved in the After School Advantage Program raised their comprehension by least one grade level.
Crutchfield said since GECAC only takes students with “F”s or “D”s that means students that were either completely lost of struggling to comprehend classroom lessons are now starting to grasp concepts or are performing at grade level.
Hwang noted the effort to improve the education performance of struggling students is not one-dimensional as it includes efforts as the Healthy Lifestyles Program.
“Some 34 percent of the adults in San Joaquin County are obese according to a University of the Pacific study,” Hwang said. “The obesity rate for children is right around 30 percent.”
Hwang pointed out obesity is a contributing factor in number of chronic dieses ranging from asthma and diabetes to heart issues. And there is also the well documented issue of how poor nutrition and inactivity can negatively impact classroom attention and retention of lessons.
But she added there is an entire area that is often forgotten that poor health impacts — self-esteem and body image.
“Students are at the age when they struggle with body image,” Hwang said.
Hwang added that when youth are quizzed body image is a big issue with them and can have a negative impact on self-esteem.
And how GECAC goes about teaching good nutrition and health practices isn’t how your grandfather’s school did it.
They employ a repertoire of endeavors including hands on making of healthy snacks, planting and maintaining vegetable gardens, games, efforts working with families, exercise segments and more.
Crutchfield noted there are 300 kids on a waiting list to be matched with tutors twice a week for an hour. To find out more about volunteer opportunities call 209.825.7003 or go to www.gecac.net.
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