The Go-St. Luke's tutoring program at St. Luke in the Fields was featured in the Spring 2012 issue of the Episcopal New Yorker. Read the article below or click here to download in the original PDF format.
Episcopal Charities: Education as a Vehicle for Change
By The Rev. Samuel J. Smith
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
Episcopal Charities, the official outreach arm of the diocese, invests in the mission undertaken by our parishes. We provide funding for numerous food pantries, soup kitchens, after school programs, and much more. Episcopal Charities does not determine what should be done, but rather strives to help local Episcopalians serve their communities in the ways that they see fit, and to do so to the best of their abilities.
As I travel around the diocese visiting parishes and programs, I am again and again impressed by the caring individuals who give their time and effort to their neighbors, working to meet their needs and to ensure that they have the opportunity to be valued members of their communities. They accomplish these goals by focusing on the whole person, helping to satisfy not only their physical needs (like food, clothing, and shelter), but also their social and developmental ones. For this education issue of the Episcopal New Yorker, we highlight three programs that promote learning in different ways; these programs do not simply to teach the subjects on which they focus, but, more importantly, they build the confidence and self-esteem of their participants.
GO-ST.LUKE’S at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village has as its mission, “to nurture the love of learning, one child at a time.” The program began in 1994 as an extension of the much larger Grace Opportunities program at Grace Church, Broadway. It soon evolved into a distinct program with its own methods and strategies. Now in its 17th year, the program provides remedial assistance and enrichment to underperforming children from New York City public and parochial schools.
Go-St. Luke’s currently serves 32 pre-kindergarten through grade 6 students with one-to-one tutoring and attention on Saturday mornings, from October through April. In addition, Go-St. Luke’s Summer is a four-week Monday to Friday camp offering academic enrichment, one-to-one tutoring, drama therapy and athletic activities. It is designed to increase students’ confidence as well as social, academic and problem-solving skills.
Go-St. Luke’s has a major impact on the students enrolled. Participants have seen their test scores rise, and the volunteer tutors attest to positive changes in students’ attitudes toward school and learning. But parents tell an even more encouraging story. One mother reports that her daughter’s grades have gotten much better, and that “not only her grades, but her self-esteem and her confidence” have increased.
St. Luke’s rector, the Rev. Caroline Stacey, notes that the program benefits the volunteers as well as the students. “The treasures of the outreach program,” she says, “are the relationships and the connections that are made between people that otherwise may never meet each other in the normal run of their everyday lives.”
ST. LUKE IN THE FIELDS has created a video that highlights the good work of GO-St. Luke’s as well as two other outreach programs funded in part by Episcopal Charities. You can view the video on Youtube at http://youtu.be/xs2mjd4rZbc.