By Jennifer Taylor
As the school year ended, Wendy Bennett“s fourth-grade daughter, Lily, began feeling nervous about her final math tests. Bennett, pastor of family life ministry and community connections at Everyday Christian Church (New York, NY), asked Chris Travis for help.
“Chris is not only our lead pastor, but has also worked as a math teacher in Harlem the last two years,” Bennett says. “Lily”s best friend soon wanted to join the sessions; then more students expressed interest. Eventually we asked the school if we could organize group tutoring.”
The team worked with the administration to coordinate the tutoring sessions, which were offered each Saturday for four weeks. Travis developed the curriculum and taught the lesson; adults from the church then worked one-on-one with each student to complete the assignments.
“The school asked us to finish the program with a “˜pep rally” type of experience to encourage the kids,” Bennett says. The church rents office space near the offices of Drum CafÃ©, an organization that uses “interactive drumming” to build teams and inspire unity. The cafÃ© musicians agreed to bring instruments and lead a celebration.
“We can connect to the music and to each other through rhythm,” said drum director Pavel Lempert in a Manhattan Times article. “Our commonality is that we are here to do our best on the test, and support each other.”
“Working with the kids on Saturdays has been a great experience; it was more than just helping some students with their math skills,” said Everyday volunteer Kate Hunte. “It was an opportunity to really connect with great kids and let them know that there are people in the community who care about them and want them to be successful.”