This smiling young man is Eric. He wants to be able to read more than anything. When we met Eric over three years ago, he was going into 5th grade, reading at a 1st grade level. With RITES tutoring and intensive summer programs, he is closing the gap. With the small steps of your donations, we are helping Eric reach his “big change” goal of literacy.
The power of RITES for Eric:
The first year we worked with Eric, he made amazing strides in his phonemic awareness and reading fluency. At the end of five weeks together, when we were giving him his post-program assessment, he said,
“I don’t want the program to end. I just want to keep going – I want to learn to read.”
Is there anything more profound than that, spoken earnestly by an underserved 5th grader?
In our second summer together, Eric continued to make gains. Here is his progress chart from that 5-week program:
Further Big Change:
There was still much work to do to increase Eric’s reading skills. While he was able to improve measurably over the 5-week summer program, we knew he needed more support throughout the school year to be able to further reduce the gap to his peers. We made the commitment to support him through our RITES Financial Aid program in 2017. We continued to work with him, both through the small-group summer program for two years, and through individual, one-to-one tutoring throughout the school year, and then year-round this last year.
Perhaps just as important as the measurable progress Eric has made is his reclaimed self-esteem and drive to learn. You can hear his enthusiasm as he works his way through a writing assignment, and makes crucial comprehension connections:
This is a bright kid, who could have a bright future…As long as he gets the support and type of instruction he needs to understand and succeed.
More to the Story…Meet Keven, Eric’s Older Brother
There is no doubt Eric’s mother, Leside, is grateful. Not only were we able to help her younger son, Eric, but eventually, also her older son, Keven, who needed writing and study skills support. In fact, Keven himself requested tutoring. He saw what RITES was doing for his brother, and knew he could use the help, too. Keven wanted to experience big change as well…
Initially, we only had the funds to help one child, so mom made the difficult decision to help Eric only. She never gave up hope, though, and later, we were able to offer additional funding support so Keven could receive services as well. We understand learning issues often run in families. If there is more than one child, there is a good chance each one may need some type of specialized instruction.
With the careful, expert guidance of RITES master teacher, Marilyn Salisbury (Eric’s teacher), Keven made dramatic progress as well:
Keven’s Big Change:
We were so happy to be able to help both these deserving young men to become better learners.
Here is their mom, Leside, in her own words:
There are so many “Erics” and “Kevens” out there, in our own neighborhoods, struggling with the basics of a strong education. Any waitlist is too long when the stakes are so high, even more so with the extra roadblocks to education caused by the pandemic. Our current waitlist is over 20 students, who have to wait more than 2 years to come off the list and receive services. That simply is not okay.
How You Can Help Today
Right now, when it there is so much uncertainty and difficulty in our world, while the broken education system struggles to reform and carry on, we can feel pretty hopeless and helpless. But there IS something you can do, right now. You can make change happen TODAY and you can bring HOPE where there is none. When you give today, we can begin working with another student like Eric, who desperately wants to learn, but is falling further behind every day without support from you and RITES. That brighter tomorrow can start without delay. You will know you made a real difference.
It takes $3,000 to support a RITES student for one year. That’s $250 a month. If just one generous person like you committed to this, or a group of like-minded folks got together for a “crowd-funded” monthly gift, we would be able to reduce that waitlist until we eventually reach our ultimate goal: no waitlist, ever, for students needing our help. There is no better way for small steps to make big change in our community.