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Volunteers thanked for helping struggling kids
Hala Singh makes her way to the activities during Saturdays Give Every Child a Chance volunteer recognition lunch at Northgate Park. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Some 3,555 struggling kids improved their academic performance during 2013 thanks in a large part to 377 volunteers working with the free community-based tutoring programs offered through Give Every Child a Chance.

That’s based on testing data on the 4,741 unduplicated youth referred to GECAC by teachers in Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop, Escalon, Banta and Weston Ranch last year. The GECAC success rate has been heralded by federal educators as one of the best results of any tutoring program in the nation. An even higher percentage than the 75.8 percent that improved their comprehension of academics reported being more confident in school.

GECAC honored the volunteers with a recognition picnic Saturday at Northgate Park in Manteca.

The volunteers work with youth twice a week through the GECAC’s core one-on-one tutoring program. During 2013 there were 43 school year sites and six summer sites that served 1,206 youth. Of those 150 graduated from the program as they were no longer receiving below average grades.

GECAC also has 13 After School Advantage Program sites involving 3,299 youths. The non-profit organization also offers computer assisted technology tutoring, employment mentoring, and technology outreach programs plus a teen summit.

The first one-on-one tutoring sessions took place at the main site some 16 years ago. That first year involved 166 students. Within seven years, that number had grown to 1,778 students at 28 sites.

GECAC was the creation of the late Antone Raymus. The housing developer provided $300,000 in seed money plus free space to get the program started.

Raymus came up with the idea along with the late Bob Camden — who was a retired Manteca High teacher at the time.

They concluded that teens and young adults who made the wrong decisions and ended up facing the possibility of being incarcerated had failings earlier in their life in both the classroom and their social endeavors.

That is why GECAC has from day one been a combined tutoring-mentoring program.

If you are interested in finding out how to be a volunteer tutor, you can contact the GECAC office at 209.825.7003.