Showing Students What’s Possible: KidZClub Provides Bilingual Tutoring and Support for College
January 15, 2021
KidZClub at West Street Christian Church
The NBA Mission & Ministry Grant program accepts applications annually in the autumn and awards funds for use in the following year. Mission & Ministry Grant recipients used their 2019-20 funds to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults, youth, and young adults. As the 2019-20 grant period comes to a close, we asked grantees to share a story from the past year of how their communities and organizations benefitted from their award.
In a city in which the vast majority of people are Caucasian (97.5 percent of our town’s population), West Street Christian Church (WSCC) in Tipton, Indiana, became aware of a growing Hispanic/Latinx community. This happened because the school system recognized students who were learning in English, were going home and primarily communicating in Spanish. The difference in the language spoken in the home, versus spoken at school made it difficult for students to complete their homework.
In 2016, West Street began to see several Hispanic students coming to our tutoring program, which is the only free tutoring program in the county. We had one bi-lingual tutor, who often worked with 10 different students over the course of our three hour after-school program. What a challenge!
Together, the tutor and our ministry team realized it would be helpful to have extended time to help build relationships of care and connection between Caucasian students and the Hispanic students. Thus, KidZClub became a four-hour program held at the church building every Wednesday during the school year, especially for grade-school students.
By 2019, WSCC recognized it would be great to expand the program beyond the grade-school (and few middle-school) students. The NBA Mission & Ministry grant allowed us to open the doors to additional middle school and high school students!
One of the best outcomes of the program in 2019-2020 came when several of the older participants started talking with the volunteer staff and the bi-lingual staff person about college. As eighth graders from lower income households, students felt that it was not likely they would go to college. Through this conversation, we were able to share resources with students about their options for making higher education more accessible and affordable. We share information about the 529 programs and to 21st Century Scholars. None of the students were aware of either of these programs!
This conversation helped our group of eighth graders begin to imagine the possibility of going to college! The staff urged both the students and their parents to allow folks at KidZClub to help them apply, and happily encouraged these students to look ahead with excitement. By December 2019, all four of these students had signed up to begin imagining what pursuing a college degree could look like for them.
KidZClub is a youth initiative from West Street Christian Church (DOC). The program offers free educational support for students in English and Spanish. In addition to the grant KidZClub received in 2019-20, they received one in 2018-19 as well.
As the health and social services general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the National Benevolent Association partners with congregations, regions, general ministries, and a variety of Disciples-related health and social service providers to create communities of compassion and care. Founded in 1887 by six women responding to the needs of the day and on their doorsteps, for more than 130 years the NBA has continued to serve "the least of these." Learn more at www.nbacares.org.