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Struggling kids need more tutors
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Two hours a week from a volunteer can turn a child’s life around.
That has been the successful formula Give Every Child a Chance has pursued for 19 years through one-on-one tutoring.
And what make it work are volunteers.
Sometimes volunteers believe they have to have a grasp of algebra and such to tutor, but that is not the case.
 “One of the biggest things people can do is just sit and listen to a child read and help them with enunciation and comprehension,” said GECAC Chief Executive Officer Christina Keefhaver. “Reading is the key to students not falling behind.”
The one-on-one tutoring effort that is at the core of GECAC’s success story is gearing up now that Manteca Unified and Ripon Unified schools have been in session for three weeks. Referrals have already started coming in from teachers meaning GECAC is facing a perennial problem — a shortage of volunteers.
Keefhaver says the waiting list at any given time is typically well over 100.
Volunteers for the one-on-one tutoring can be as young as fifth graders. There are active volunteer tutors in their 90s. To comply with state law, GECAC picks up the tab for background checks and fingerprinting. They also provide training.
It requires a weekly commitment of one hour in the afternoon for two days either on a Monday-Wednesday or a Tuesday-Thursday schedule.
The GECAC staff matches the skills of the volunteers with the needs of the struggling students.
“The volunteer tutors help build self-esteem and give the students they tutor more confidence,” Keefhaver noted.
Research conducted of the grades of those  involved with the one-on-one tutoring verifies that 8 out of 10 improve at least a grade level making it one of the nation’s most effective community-based free tutoring programs.
Last school 700 struggling students from kindergarten through 12th grade benefitted from the GECAC one-on-one tutoring. There are 42 locations throughout Manteca, Ripon, Lathrop, French Camp, Weston Ranch, and Banta where individualized tutoring takes place.
That is in addition to nearly 4,000 other students involved in After School Advantage Programs (ASAP) offered at 13 school sites as well as Homework Assistant Programs (HAP) that are staffed by teachers.
For information on how to become a tutor call 825-7003.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email