Children get assistance with reading, writing and arithmetic
At Springfield Housing Authority’s Robinson Gardens Apartments, help is on the way.
Homework help, that is.
To help young children with their academic work and to recognize January as National Mentoring Month, teens in the Robinson Gardens Youth Group are meeting on Wednesday afternoons with younger residents to help them get their homework done – correctly and on time.
The ‘Homework Help’ Wednesdays will run through the month, and possibly continue forward, said Lynne Cimino, program coordinator for SHA’s Talk/Read/Succeed! program, which focuses on boosting literacy by working with families.
So far, the program is working quite well, she noted.
“It’s great for everyone involved, young and old” Cimino said. “The teens get to give back, and the younger children get a teen to look up to. Also, they need the help with their homework.”
For Gretchen Hernandez, who is 17 and a senior at the Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, the recipe is perfect. On a recent day, she helped 10-year-old Jalil Richardson with his homework, and also spent time with her friends at Robinson Gardens.
“It’s good to help the younger kids so they can do better in school,” said Gretchen, who is studying cosmetology at Putnam.
“These kids are out future. I want them to be smart,” she added.
Jalil was happy to have the extra help. He’s strong in math, but appreciates the help in science and social studies, which come harder to him.
“I want to do my best,” said the fourth grader at Dorman Elementary School. “If I don’t work hard, I won’t have a good future.”
For Jalil, a good future means working towards his goal of being a robotic engineer.
Jaleiry Rivera, who is 16, was paired on a recent Wednesday afternoon with six-year-old Janoah Alexander, and working hard on math homework.
Jaleiry is president of the Robinson Gardens Youth Group, and said the Homework Help program is a good thing.
“I work hard on my own studies, and I like to help young people, so this is great,” said Jaleiry, who is a junior at Central High School. “I have a little brother in Janoah’s class so I know the work, I help him at home.”
She added, “It feels good to help other people.”
For her part, Janoah said, “This helps a lot. I usually don’t like doing homework but this makes it feel more fun.”
Janoah is a first grader at the Dorman School.
Keishla Calderon, 17 and also a junior at Central, also stopped by to help the young set. She said the benefits definitely go both ways.
“I always like to help, and I love little kids,” Keishla said. “It just gives you a good feeling to know you are helping someone.”
As the session continued, brothers Hancel and Alberto Valentin, ages 10 and 6, bounded in with books and backpacks in tow, ready to do their homework with the guidance provided by the teens. Their mother, Ivette Fernandez, is a frequent participant in T/R/S! activities and sees this one as a win-win for her sons.
“They love being with other people, and you know they need to do their homework,” she said with a smile.
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