- Associated Press - Saturday, October 21, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - For Keiaudre Cannon, Homework Club isn’t just a place to do homework. It’s a safe place, filled with friends and helpful instructors.

“I love it,” Cannon said. “The teachers are really nice to me, and I always get a chance to do the things I love in here.”

Cannon, a fifth-grader at Elwood Haynes Elementary School, attends the Kokomo Housing Authority’s Homework Club in the Garden Square Community Room Monday through Thursday. Each day, he’s able to work on reading, math and any other homework he needs to do for school the next day, and he can relax after a long day at school.

Homework Club is available to children living in the Garden Square and Pine Valley apartment complexes, which are run by the Kokomo Housing Authority. For many of the students involved, the group is more than just time to do homework.

Monti Lamont Hickspryor, a third-grader from Sycamore Elementary School, said Homework Club is the only way to get homework done.

“Usually at my house, it’s very hot and the kitchen is always distracting because people are always coming in and out,” Lamont Hickspryor said. “This is the best place to do homework.”

Students who attend the group are broken up into two groups, one for older and one for younger students. Each group has an hour to work on homework, and when they’re done with their work, they can get on the computers and play games. Each student is also given a snack.

For some students, the group offers something they don’t find at home: help with their homework. That’s the case for Michael Taylor, an eighth-grader at Maple Crest Middle School. For Taylor, Homework Club gives him an opportunity to ask questions and get help.

“I like it because if I don’t understand something, I can come here and they’ll help me,” Taylor said.

For older students, that help is critical to getting through school.

Homework Club helped me get all the way to 11th grade,” said Kokomo High School student Tavaegheya Cannon. Cannon has been attending the club since second grade, and he plans to continue through his senior year.

He hasn’t decided on what he wants to do after high school, but he knows he wants to do something, and Homework Club, he said, is the way he’ll be able to do it.

For many students, a big reason to continue coming back is the feeling that the instructors care. Angie Sanders, lead instructor for the group, has been leading the Homework Club for over 20 years, and several students agreed that Sanders is one of the reasons they keep coming back.

Sanders loves working with children, but she said she couldn’t see herself in a school classroom. She used to teach GED classes, but now she focuses solely on K-12 students. For her, the club is a way to show students that they have support even outside of the regular school day.

“I adore the kids and like helping them, hopefully brightening their day for an hour or two,” she said. “We try to make it fun and let them know that we care. Whatever they need, we try to provide it.”

And part of her motivation comes from seeing the impact the club has on the students.

“I love it when kids come back and see me years later and sometimes it’s a surprise,” Sanders said. In fact, one of the current students’ mothers once attended Homework Club, and Sanders said she likes being able to stay in touch with her former student.

Mr. Lawson, as he is known to his students, is another instructor at the Homework Club, and like Sanders, he has a passion for helping the students.

“It’s always awesome to be a constant in a child’s life,” Lawson said. “We give them an extra shoulder to boost and develop good study habits.”

For Elwood Haynes second-grader Myaire Jackson, the dedication from the instructors is visible, and it makes a difference.

“The people are very nice here,” Jackson said. “My favorite thing about it is Ms. Sanders and Mr. Lawson. and Goldfish.”

The Homework Club is run by the Kokomo Housing Authority, and it receives grants from the organization Stop Child Abuse and Neglect, the Indiana Youth Institute and Duke Energy.

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Source: Kokomo Tribune

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Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com


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