The Concerned Citizen of Russellville/Logan County aren’t worried about their budget.
It’s easy to do when you don’t have one.
“We don’t have any money right now,” said Concerned Citizens director Dorris Vick. “But we’re still here and we’ll be doing the best we can with what we’ve got.”
The Concerned Citizens will be starting up its tutoring program next week. The program will be every Tuesday and Thursday night at the KP Hall from 4:30-6 p.m.
It is free and open to any child who needs help in school.
“There are a lot of these kids that have serious problems with reading - and it just breaks my heart,” Vick said. “We asked the kids last year to raise their hand if they had trouble reading, and the majority of them raised their hand.”
Last year the Concerned Citizens helped 36 children through the tutoring program and averaged about 24 kids each night they opened the doors to KP Hall.
In the past, they have been able to pay a certified teacher to come in and help lead the tutoring program.
Not this year, though.
Since there’s no money, all the tutoring will be done strictly by volunteers.
That’s okay, because volunteers have always been the lifeblood of the program.
Bob Balance started volunteering as a tutor with the program last year after hearing about Concerned Citizens need at church.
“I thought it was an opportunity to maybe feel like I was doing something to help these kids,” Balance said. “I was doing things like teaching them about the lowest common denominator and just listening to the read and helping with that.”
Balance became a fixture at the tutoring sessions and became “a key person in this tutoring program,” according to Vick.
The Concerned Citizens need more people like Balance, Vick says.
Last year there was about four or five volunteers each night to help the 26 or so children.
That’s good, but more would be better.
“These kids need more one-on-one help,” Balance said. “It’s really good when they get that individual attention, because if they’re not getting it, they will go off on a tangent.”
Vick said that Crossroads Church has offered to help with the tutoring program this year.
“That will be a big help, but we still need more volunteers so our kids can get the individual attention they need,” Vick said.
Vick said that seeing the children’s success stories is one of the most rewarding parts of the program.
“Their teachers would write letters about how they’re improving and they would bring those and show us and be so proud of them,” Vick said.
If anyone would like to use the tutoring program, but doesn’t have a way there, Vick said Concerned Citizens will provide transportation to and from KP Hall.
In addition to starting up the tutoring program, the Concerned Citizens is continuing to run a food bank weekly.
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Vick and her volunteers help distribute free food to those in need of it.
Most of the food is supplied by the Feeding America program.
“We work with the other local food banks too,” Vick said. “If we get too much of something and we know we won’t give it all out to be used, we’ll call some of the others and share it with them - and they do the same thing with us.”
Vick has also been making sure that everyone who walks into the food bank is registered to vote.
“If they come in, I’ll ask them if they are registered and will get them the registration forms if they’re not,” Vick said.
With summer coming to an end, Vick wanted to thank everyone that helped with the Concerned Citizens air conditioner and fan giveaway over the hottest months of the year.
Groups and individuals donated several air conditioners and many fans that were then distributed to the elderly and others in the community that couldn’t afford them over the summer months.
“I tried to send out cards to everyone that helped us with that,” Vick said. “But I know I probably missed some people and I just want them to know how grateful we were. We were able to help a lot of people over the summer.”