Homework Helpers is one of the services offered within the Building Community Program at The Matthews House. It started in August of 2013 and at first, two college student interns ran the program two days a week at one of our Community Life Center (CLC) sites. After 2014, Homework Helpers began running 5 days a week. Now, two Homework Helper Coordinators work with the students at each of the CLCs.
The purpose of Homework Helpers is to provide a safe and enriching after-school environment for students ages 8-16 to work on and receive help with homework, eat a healthy snack, and build positive relationships with other students and adults present. About 90% of the kids in Homework Helpers also have free or reduced lunch because they come from low-income families. These kids often wouldn’t get a healthy snack if it weren’t for the Food Bank donating to Homework Helpers.
Most families are referred to Homework Helpers, but the program is open to anyone as long as there’s space for more kids on the roster. Many parents register their kids in Homework Helpers because the parents cannot speak English fluently, have kids struggling in their academic work, need free after-school care, or desire that their kids have the opportunity to make new and positive friendships outside of their schools and neighborhoods.
“One of our older students, who is not very motivated to complete his work, recently scored 100% on his math test, and now he is motivated to bring his math grade up to an A! He wants work hard to raise all of his other grades, as well!” – Homework Helpers Volunteer
Our Education and Enrichment Director and two Homework Helper Coordinators try to create variety in the day-to-day sessions by offering fun, educational enrichment opportunities. Often outside agencies or groups will come in and lead these activities. Recently, 4H has been coming every other week and sharing science experiments with the kids. The local library has also come once a week to teach sewing. Through this, the students have been able to sew pillowcases, PJ pants, shorts, dresses, backpacks, and more. The kids even get to go on field trips on some of the days Poudre School District isn’t in session!
Homework Helpers provides real results when it comes to social and academic improvements. One volunteer told us she has seen such great improvements in respect and ability to follow direction, as well as an improvement in grades and academic success from many of the kids involved in the program.