the Basics of Success to Darke County Students...
Writing, Math & More
Empowering Darke County Youth Sponsors & Supporters
United Way Community Fund - Platinum Sponsor
Kendra & Michael Chalmers - Gold
Oliver Floyd &
Storch Braund Funeral Homes - Gold
Rapid Printing - Gold Sponsor
Ed Ault - Gold Sponsor
Greenville National Bank - Silver Sponsor
Second National Bank - Silver Sponsor
Bistro Off Broadway
- Bronze Sponsor
Al & Barbara Greiner - Bronze Sponsor
Kiwanis of Greenville - Bronze Sponsor
Littman Thomas Agency - Bronze Sponsor
Scott Zumbrink - Bronze Sponsor
Rolling 50s Car Club • Ramco Electric Motors
• Modern Mothers of Versailles •
Bob Evans Restaurant • Darryl Mehaffie • Al & Lyn Bliss • Greenville Federal Bank •
Barb Greiner • Jim & Carla Surber • Dave Knapp Ford • Beckie Shumaker
Whirlpool Corporation • CNO Reader from Book Sales • Eileen Litchfield •
Carline & Kenneth Lee • Families of
Students being Tutored
Darke County Youth Board of Directors
Eric Fee, President
Kendra Chalmers, Vice President
Rhonda Williams, Secretary
Krista Stump, Treasurer
Bob Robinson, Program Coordinator
Doreen Larson, Jody Harter, Melinda Thompson,
Wendy Read, Michael Chalmers, Tom Warner
Empowering Darke County Youth... About Us
empowering the kids in our community
By Bob Robinson, Program Coordinator
Updated November 21, 2016
A multitude of sources, including Education Week, Reading Horizons, the
Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and more, indicate students who are
unable to read at grade level by the end of third grade are more likely
to become high school drop-outs. Factors such as poverty – as found in
many areas of Darke County – increase this likelihood.
According to ODE, students who read at their grade level by the third
grade are five times as likely to be college-bound or ready for their
career employment choices. Put another way, that means those who can’t
read at their grade level are five times LESS likely to reach their
goals. Assuming they have any at that point. ODE further notes a full
one-third of all students entering college require remedial courses in
order to meet the demands of college work. This lack of basics for
college-bound students does not translate well for those just trying to
get through high school.
For seven years I’ve been privileged to be a founding director of the
Senior Scribes Scholarship Fund, now known as the Darke County
Scholarship Fund. This organization, among others, provides
scholarships to talented, high-achieving young people, many of whom
have been students of mine. I am proud of them and their
accomplishments. These young people have mostly been high-achievers
throughout their primary and secondary educational careers. At
the same time, I tutor many college students who need remedial support
to meet their educational goals.
In Darke County, as many as one out of 10 students either don’t
graduate on time, or end up dropping out of school. Considerable focus
is now being placed on these at-risk high school students. These
programs are immensely important. There also needs to be a focus,
however, for intervention BEFORE a student reaches that point. A
significant area of a child’s learning, self-worth and development is
gained in the primary grades of kindergarten through four. This is also
a time when a child who, for a variety of reasons, may not get the
mentoring and support needed outside of school.
As one teacher recently put it… “If a child is having difficulty in
kindergarten and isn’t helped at that point, the lack of success will
build each year as the child struggles through his or her grade levels.
Eventually it will become engrained. It is easier to address those
needs in a child’s early years.” This teacher – and her fellow teachers
– are talented and dedicated. I have substituted in the classrooms of
most of them. It is literally impossible to give the one-on-one
dedication some children might require in a class of 20 or more
students. Schools do the best they can with limited resources. An
additional support system of some kind is needed for these “at-risk”
I’ve been a substitute teacher working with these kids for five years.
I’ve been tutoring at the primary and secondary level for the last
three years. I quickly discovered the needs went beyond my ability
to meet them. All of this came to light in March, to some extent
due to a mother whose children I had worked with. She insisted other
children receive the same help her children had received.
As a result, Empowering Darke County Youth was formed. In March I was
working with eight elementary students, two more than I’d originally
intended. Volunteers began working with another two. This summer, seven
tutors worked with 43 students at the Greenville Library. I can’t begin
to thank Director John Vehre and his staff enough for making their
facility available to us.
As fall approached we knew many of these students would continue to
need help. Fewer hours were available for one-on-one tutoring, and many
more students would need an extra boost, help with homework or both.
Frankly, how to handle the needs of a potentially large number of
students was overwhelming. As generous as the library has been, there
was a concern that too many students would interfere with its
operations. Fortunately, thanks to Dean Chad Beanblossom, Edison State
Community College, Darke County Campus, there is a solution… the needed
space is available at the Edison DCC.
After School Program has been established to provide a place
where kids can come for tutoring, mentoring, shared reading and
writing, indoor games and activities and more. Currently, 59 students
are enrolled. Some are tutored in the
basics they need to succeed at their grade level. Many
simply use the place – with help available – for their homework.
Mentoring is provided for any student who needs it. Our student to
adult ratio ranges from 3 to 1 to 5 to 1. Our goal is 2 to 1;
volunteers are needed. The program takes place five days a week and is
available to students from
any district, K-12. In addition to
having the space to handle this program, Edison offers another
resource: its students, many of whom are going to school for elementary
education. It is a win-win situation.
This program began Sept. 19. It is open to all students
from all Districts, but transportation would typically be the
responsibility of the care providers. We would like to thank GCSD
Superintendent Doug Fries, Director of Pupil Personnel Services Andrea
Townsend and the District staff for working with us to provide
transportation to Edison from Woodland and East School each day.
Parents are responsible for picking their children up.
is a tremendous undertaking and will require significant resources
for state-approved paid adults, volunteers, supplies, reading and
writing materials and more. Empowering Darke County Youth is a
community service organization. We have seated a Board of Directors to
help guide the implementation of this program. Empowering Darke County
Youth was designated a 501c3 non-profit organization by the Internal
Revenue Service in September, 2016.
Our Board currently includes President Eric Fee, owner of Oliver Floyd
and Braund Pope Funeral Homes, Vice President Kendra Chalmers,
concerned parent, Treasurer Krista Stump, retired principal Ansonia
Schools, Secretary Rhonda Williams, OSU Extension, Doreen Larson,
president Edison State Community College, Jody Harter, principal
Woodland Heights Primary, Melinda Thompson, Ansonia Kindergarten
Teacher and Darke County co-Teacher of
the Year, Wendy Read, teacher in training, Bob Robinson, Edison
instructor and substitute teacher, Michael Chalmers, concerned parent
and Tom Warner, local businessman and concerned parent. We are proud of
the group of adults that has come together for these kids.
For a variety of reasons the needs of Darke County’s young people are
tremendous. This undertaking will only be scratching the surface, but
it is a start. We want – and need – your help.
For more information or to ask how you can help contact us at email@example.com
Editor’s Note: This
is the summary – updated – that I wrote in March to explain the concept
when the Empowering Darke County Youth organization was established.
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