Every other Saturday from 10 am-12 pm Carla Smith and often Cora Duncan Foster of Grandmont sharpen their pencils, pack some snacks, and wait for neighborhood students to come to the conference room at the Chaney Branch library on Grand River. As the Grandmont Youth and Education Meeting organizers, these women offer neighborhood youth tutoring in any subject that is needed, and extracurricular activities for the students. While Carla and Cora tutor and plan field trips such as rollerskating and lunch downtown, they have bigger goals in mind. “We are looking to encourage these kids to become leaders of the community. We need them to take part and eventually to take over,” says Carla, a teacher and student in the Master’s of Education program at Wayne State University.
“The meetings begin with a half hour just finding out how the kids are doing. We ask them how school is going, what their plans are for the weekend, and then we get down to business.” For the next hour and a half Carla and retired school teacher Cora tutor the 4-9th grade students in math, English, “projects, papers, anything really.” The Youth and Education Meetings are open to any student in grades K-12. Carla and Cora hope to see more kids attend. “Ideally, the kids that come will be able to help other kids, or to at least tell other kids about this program. They’ll spread the word,” and this is how community leadership starts.
Jackie Shackelford, a fifth grader who “loves math” is a regular to the Youth and Education Meeting. He is also proof that Carla and Cora’s dedication to the neighborhood students is paying off. “I started the school year with about a 2.0. I started coming to these meetings and now I’m on the honor roll!” Jackie wasn’t about to ease off, though. He had his books out, and was ready to start.
*The meetings take place once a month rather than bi-weekly during the Rosedale Grandmont Little League season. For more information about the Grandmont Youth and Education meetings, call Carla Smith at 313-220-8530.