Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tutoring Program Is Making a Difference

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tutoring Program Is Making a Difference

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

This is the second in a series of stories about organizations headquartered in Nassau County that receive funding from the United Way of Northeast Florida, which kicked off its 2004 Community Campaign on Sept. 9.

Cousins Olen Busby and Jeremiah McDonald, both 13, said their school grades have shot up in the last three years, thanks to Communities in Schools of Nassau County.

The Fernandina Beach Middle School eighth-graders stay after school four days a week to do their homework with tutors from the non-profit agency. Olen, who's dyslexic, received an award for improving his reading by two grade levels last year. And Jeremiah, who was making F's in math two years ago, now is on the honor roll.

Dillion Busby, 12, also does his homework with Communities in Schools tutors.

Without help from Communities in Schools, the cousins say they'd be far behind in school.

"We probably would've had to sit down with our parents [for help with homework], but they're always working," Jeremiah said.

"I'd probably still be in the seventh grade," Olen said.

"They'd probably all be failing," Olen's mother, Connie Busby, said. "Communities in Schools is a wonderful program. If they had more programs like it in the state, they wouldn't have problems with literacy. . . . I'd put my whole paycheck toward it if I could afford it."

Olen, Jeremiah and Dillion are three of about 750 children who regularly used services provided by the non-profit agency, Executive Director Susan Milana said.

Communities in Schools is a free dropout prevention and career preparation program for middle school and high school students. Its goals include improving academic performance, preventing drug abuse and developing leadership skills among students.

SERVICES PROVIDED INCLUDE:

Classroom instruction. …

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