published Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Avondale center seeks more students for program

Jaunna Leftwich, Jamaya Leftwich and Nedra Hart, from left, work on their homework at Avondale Recreation Center.
Jaunna Leftwich, Jamaya Leftwich and Nedra Hart, from left, work on their homework at Avondale Recreation Center.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

Avondale Recreation Center has a certified Hamilton County Schools teacher to tutor children for up to four hours a day, four days a week, but an average of only about 10 kids a day participate in the tutoring.

Facility manager Gerald Perry thinks that number is far too low, and he is calling for more participation.

"It's available. It's free. But more important, it's beneficial," he said.

Avondale is among 17 recreation centers around the city that offer tutoring, but other centers have twice as many kids participating. Some centers, such as Glenwood, need more volunteer tutors to accommodate the number of students who want academic help, said facility manager Ed Odom.

High school students and local residents may volunteer as well as teachers, Odom said.

At Avondale, Perry is calling for parents to encourage their children to come to the center and bring their homework with them.

About 60 students a day come to Avondale Center, mostly for sports and exercise. He wants at least 15 of them to attend tutoring.

"Education is more important than recreation," said Perry.

Schools don't allow students to participate in sports if they don't have passing grades, he said.

Eight-year-old Labron Robinson said he started coming to tutoring for the first time this month.

"I like coming to read books," he said.

Seven-year-old Jaunna Leftwich has come to tutoring almost every day since it started in September.

"I wrote a poem about plants," she said as she showed off her latest academic work.

Tracy Davis, an inclusion teacher who volunteers at the center, said she started tutoring students this year, but she's been volunteering at Avondale Center since about 2002. She will continue volunteering because the center helped her 19-year-old son.

Davis, a single mom, said her son expects to graduate from Central High School this school year and to study criminal justice at Austin Peay State University.

"I volunteer because Gerald has been so instrumental in my son's life that I wanted to try to attempt to repay him for everything he's done," she said.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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