HOSTS Tutors Make A Big Difference

Did you know that in some public schools in America there are some kindergartners who have never even seen a book or heard the alphabet?

In his State of the Union Address, President Bush called for all Americans to become mentors to children. Thursday night Gulfport police officers answer that call at 28th Street Elementary, as they team up with teachers to kick off their After School Tutoring Program. But we found out that tutoring is nothing new to the kids of 28th street.

Javan loves the one on one attention he gets in the HOSTS tutoring program. His reading and confidence levels are soaring.

"His reading has improved. All of a sudden he'll spot the words, and so he doesn't stumble over them, he'll say them. So it helps build up his confidence to read more books," HOSTS Assistant Kimberly Allard said.

Starting this year, all school children in our state will have to pass two phases of state testing. If kids don't make the grade, they could be left behind. That's why the HOSTS program is so important. The success rate speaks for itself.

"They've done so well and pulled up their reading grades and their reading levels. So they do come out of the program and we miss them a lot because they do enjoy coming here. But we do have to pass them on and take kids that are needy," HOSTS Assistant Shelia Gill said.

And there are a lot of needy kids. The four full time mentors can only give one on one attention to 11 children each day for a year. The HOSTS program director Alisa Bethea says there are more than 44 students still in need, "so we do have a need for community tutors as well."

HOSTS stands for "Helping One Student to Succeed". That's exactly what the program does. If you'd like to give 30 minutes a week to help a child succeed in life, call 865-4673.