Shelter volunteers tutor students

September 24, 2008 8:52:12 AM PDT
Like many kids, these youngsters are doing their afterschool homework. But, they don't have a home. The children live in a shelter and get help from volunteer tutors who come to them.

"I have never equated a child being homeless. I've always thought of somebody always being there to protect a child, make sure a child has roof over his head. This program has given me a whole new perspective on that," said Pamela Fuller, volunteer.

The program is called Chicago HOPES. HOPES stands for Heightening Opportunity and Potential for Educational Success. A public school initiative, the project is staffed by Vista volunteers.

" I feel like the program is given them an opportunity to get educational benefits that they just wouldn't have otherwise...and I feel that we're here to given them a kind of lift up," said Anna Fehsenfeob, volunteer.

According to stats from last year, the public school system estimated that more than 2,000 school age youngsters were living in homeless shelters.

Tutors volunteer for one session per week over the period of a semester. And sessions take place in 6 homeless shelters throughout Chicago. Samantha Holley is the vista volunteer coordinator.

"We want to build a condition in the shelter for these students--a safe and fun environment for them to go to when they are living in a shelter. It's a very chaotic and stressful time for any child to be homeless, so we want to bring some life and fun also do some home work," said Samantha Holley, volunteer.

"It's like magic that happens with the kids because they're so interested in learning they just cling to you...it's hard to express but the kids are so giving that you just want to give back," said Fuller.

To learn more about Chicago Hopes, visit ChicagoHOPES.org


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