By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Free tutoring program provides priceless support to local students
free tutoring 1
The First Presbyterian Church of Turlock offers a free tutoring program for area students in first through sixth grade. During each weekly session, students receive one-on-one help from experienced volunteers and school teachers on their homework assignments.

The success of the free one-on-one tutoring program at the First Presbyterian Church of Turlock can best be exemplified by Denair Elementary Charter Academy third grader Elijah Medeiros’ spelling homework.

On the assignment, which the third grader brought with him to the tutoring program on Tuesday, Medeiros’ teacher commended the student on his exemplary penmanship—which was not always that way according to his father Joe Medeiros.

“He seemed like he needed a little help so that why I brought him here,” said Joe Medeiros. ” “This program has definitely benefited Elijah’s writing.”

In addition to enhanced handwriting, Joe Medeiros also said that Elijah Medeiros has become more focused in school, which has led to significant improvements in math and reading, since becoming involved with the program two years ago.  He said that the third grader even looks forward to attending the tutoring program at the church.

“At the beginning of the school year, he asked me if he could have his tutor again,” said Joe Medeiros. “He loves his tutor. He thinks she’s the best.”

 “She’s nice and helpful,” said Elijah Medeiros.

The free one-on-one tutoring program at First Presbyterian Church was started approximately five years ago when three members of the church with educational backgrounds got together to establish a way for the church to connect with students and families within the community.

“We were thinking of a way to reach out to the kids in the community and thought that a tutoring program was the best way,” said Pastor Craig Wright. “We have a lot of retired school teachers who attend the church, so it felt like the natural thing to do.”

At the first tutoring session of the academic year on Tuesday, Wright said that the benefits of the program for each student are not just limited to academic success.

“We know that there is a benefit of academic success with the one-on-one tutoring,” continued Wright. “But it also benefits the students by allowing them to form a relationship with their tutor. The friendship that develops between the tutor, the student, and their family is one of the biggest benefits.”

On Tuesday and Thursday of each week, students in first through sixth grade in Turlock and Denair can take advantage of the free one-on-one tutoring program. During each session, students are able to receive help on their homework from experienced, fingerprinted volunteers and school teachers.

“We help them in any kind of subject matter that they have for homework, whether it is social studies, science, math, reading or writing,” said director Ellen Santos. “All we ask of parents is that they support us by making sure that their students bring their work.”

With 30 registered students this year, Santos said that the program is still hoping to recruit at least seven more tutors in order to continue providing that one-on-one support. Despite this, the program director said that she does not intend to turn any students away.

“Since we are short tutors, we’re doing something different this year,” said Santos. “We’re going to let the kids who applied that haven’t been assigned a tutor come anyway and we’re going to have a table set aside that is strictly for them to do their homework.”

“They will still receive help, just not from their own personal tutor,” continued Santos.

In order to qualify as a tutor, applicants do not necessarily have to have an educational background according to Santos. Rather, they must simply enjoy working with students and strive to aid each student in their personal journey to academic success.

The free tutoring program at the First Presbyterian Church takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at 2619 N. Berkeley Avenue. Those interested in signing up or tutoring for the program are encouraged to visit or call 632-2324.