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New director leads Community of Hope; Registration scheduled for Monday

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Sept. 7, 2001
Even though the Community of Hope tutoring program has a new director, its goals remain the same: to help elementary school students perform better in the classroom.
Anita Wansley, a member of the Community of Hope board of directors for six years and its president for the past four, is now coordinating the program.
Community of Hope, located at Jubilee Mennonite Church, hires Meridian High School students at minimum wage to tutor kindergarten through fifth-grade public school students. Tutoring takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Wansley said that sophomores, juniors and seniors with high grade point averages serve as tutors. Registration for the program will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday; the cost is $10 each academic quarter.
To register children for the program, parents can obtain applications from their child's teacher or school counselor. Parents should take a completed application to the church at 812 28th Ave.; they should enter on 9th Street.
Even though the program is limited to 40 children, Wansley said, no one has ever been turned away. She said children are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Community of Hope will hire 10 tutors and its goal is to keep a ratio of one tutor for four children. Wansley, a former elementary teacher, said she understands the importance of keeping the tutorial groups small so that the children get one-on-one attention they need.
In addition to wages, tutors receive a $750 college scholarship for each year they tutor. Wansley said the tutors also benefit by learning job skills from the experience.
Community of Hope, now in its 10th year, is an agency of United Way of East Mississippi. It also is supported by area churches and businesses, the Riley Foundation, the Phil Hardin Foundation and private donors.
Harriet Simmons, who served as the program director for two years, is still affiliated as a volunteer involved with fund-raising. Simmons, an Episcopalian priest, stepped down from the director's position after being assigned to two parishes in Enterprise and Philadelphia.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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