Although the year has just begun, our partner, Big Creek People in Action, in McDowell County has been operating its programs supported by Americans Helping Americans® at full steam ahead.
Among them are its vocational tutoring program at the county’s Career & Technology Center where high school students take courses in automotive technology, building maintenance, computer programming, early childhood education, health occupations, law and public safety, practical nursing, small engine repair, welding and more.
Shawn was hired by BCPIA to tutor CTC students who may need remedial assistance in basic math and other subjects, as well and guidance and support as they study for their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 certification. (OSHA 10 certification proves to employers that they have completed 10 hours of OSHA-authorized training on critical workplace safety topics to help prevent injuries and keep workplaces safe and productive.)
Shawn is not only a tutor, but a graduate of the CTC himself who received his certification in computer programming and understands the benefits of the smaller class sizes than standard high school classes, and especially the fact that everyone in the class is following the same career path.
Shawn told us of a new student who “was so eager to do anything he could to get ahead and asked me many questions. I explained to him how the OSHA classes went, and he wanted to go ahead and take the pre-test to see what he was going to have to learn.
“It is extremely rewarding to see a young person who is eager to learn and be prepared for is future,” said Shawn.
In fact, because of this inspiring student, Shawn has decided to stick with teaching as a career path.
“Because of students like this who make you feel like you are making a difference in their lives, I have decided to further my education by taking online education classes so that I can eventually become a certified teacher and motivate students to reach their highest potential.”
At the other end of the educational spectrum is BCPIA’s afterschool program for elementary school children where they receive assistance with their homework through one-on-one tutoring to help ensure they do not fall behind their classmates.
In addition to receiving a hot evening meal before going home, the children become part of the BCPIA family where they receive moral support and encouragement from staff and program participants when things are tough.
Jayce is described by BCPIA co-executive director Dyanne Spriggs as “a very special little boy” who has been placed with a foster family.
“This little boy has won our hearts over by his kindness and his manners,” says Dyanne. “He’s always so grateful to receive anything we give him and never fails to thank us every day for cooking his meals.
“It is impossible not to smile and be happy when Jayce is around!”
She told us that while Jayce has a struggle staying focused when it comes time to do his homework, “but we take turns working with him and he settles down to complete his assignments with ease. He is a very smart little boy with math being his strongest subject.
“He has even been known to help us out with the other children’s math homework while we are working with other kids,” she added. “He is a joy to have in our afterschool program, and we are all anxious to see him excel in his school years and his future endeavors.”
Americans Helping Americans® also provides support to BCPIA’s home rehab program which is starting its new season this month.
And even without having any volunteer teams there yet this year, they were able to help two families already this year by installing a faucet for one, and a sump pump for another, Dyanne reported.
Also, with grant funding from Americans Helping Americans® they are able to purchase brand new shoes for children whom for many is their first pair that were not hand-me-downs from older siblings.
While local residents donate outgrown clothing that can be distributed to their clients, “but any shoes we ever get donated are not in good condition and are about worn out when we get them,” says Dyanne. Shoes are a basic need for a child and it’s great to have a new pair of shoes that fit well and look good. This raises their self-esteem and gives them something they can proud of.
“I think this is probably the most needed item in our family pantry.”