About 30 Lawrence children are getting a jump on the coming school year by learning about math, social studies, English and, most importantly, the need for a good self-esteem to accomplish one's goals.
The children are participating in the "I Can Be" program, which is being held through Aug. 7 at Second Christian Church, 1245 Conn. In the four-week summer program, Kansas University students tutor children in grades one through nine who have had trouble in certain academic areas.
While the program works to help children in their academic endeavors, it definitely serves another purpose.
"The most important thing is self-image enhancement, and that one-on-one attention that they get from working with their tutors will help them with their goals," said Jo Anderson, vice president of the I Can Be board of directors. "It's also a chance to re-learn what little kids know, which is that learning is fun."
CYNTHIA Turner, co-director of the program, said that while she wants the KU tutors to have good teaching skills, "We also want them to have compassion and love. Those are the things that make a child feel that he is somebody."
With funding from the KU Student Senate, I Can Be hires KU tutors to work with students during the school year. A $2,000 donation from First National Bank allowed I Can Be to hire eight KU tutors for this year's summer program. Another $2,000 grant from Hallmark Cards has helped pay for supplies and administrative costs. I Can Be also received other donations through various fund-raisers.
Turner said children spend about half a day in the summer program, with some children attending from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and others from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The program goes on Monday through Friday, with Friday being a "fun day" in which children might play games, have discussions or enjoy a visit by a guest speaker.
"PEOPLE come in and let them know that if they work hard at it, they can be pretty much what they want to be in life," Turner said.
Della Hamilton is the other co-director of the program, and both Hamilton and Turner oversee the program on a volunteer basis. Their duties include selecting the KU tutors, visiting with school principals and teachers and meeting with parents.
Anderson said she hopes I Can Be someday will have sufficient funding to hire somebody for those tasks.
This year marks I Can Be's second summer session, and the program will begin its fourth school-year session in the fall.