Washington Church Mentors School Children

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Vonnie Roosendaal of First Christian Reformed Church in Seattle, Wash., understands that tutoring kids means more than just assisting them with homework. Students also need a close one-on-one relationship with a mentor investing in their lives.

Pia Bamana meets with her KidREACH tutor, Shari Hightower.

Roosendaal coordinates a free tutoring program called KidREACH, developed by World Vision, which provides that kind of relational mentoring for 23 children in public and Christian schools in grades 1 through 6.

Volunteers meet one-on-one for two hours a week at a nearby Christian school with children who need help learning the English language or who are struggling with math. Tutors also read a Bible story, pray with their assigned child, and play educational games.

“For several years before we implemented KidREACH, I had been praying for a way to help community students who needed assistance with homework and who could not afford tutoring,” she said. “The support given with organized paperwork, materials, and children’s interests at heart was an answer to prayer!”

Pia Bamana, a second grader who attends the KidREACH program, is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After working with a KidREACH tutor and improving her English, her teacher mentioned to Roosendaal that Pia did not need to meet with a tutor anymore. “However, she cried when she found out she wouldn’t be coming, so we’ve allowed her to continue, with her teacher sending along some advanced work,” said Roosendaal.

Pia and her family began attending First CRC after several months of being a part of the KidREACH program.

The program at First CRC is in its thirteenth year.

About the Author

Amy Toornstra is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Salem, Oregon.

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