RIDGEFIELD — Last winter, after looking for ways to serve and connect with families in the Ridgefield community, Compassion 360 and the Kids’ Department of Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene decided to launch a Homework Club for a three-month trial period.
“The response we received, both from the kids wanting help with their homework as well as volunteers willing to help others, was positive,” said Kari Goode, one of the organizers of the Homework Club. “So, we decided to try out the Homework Club again this year.”
Goode said the Homework Club first kicked off this year on Wed., Jan. 4, with 22 kids. This last Wednesday they were forced to cancel due to the weather. However, the plan is to host the Homework Club every Wednesday from January through May, from 5:45-7:30 p.m., at the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene (in the lower gym), at 747 Pioneer St., in Ridgefield. The Homework Club is open to students in first through sixth grade.
Students in attendance should plan on the following schedule each Wednesday:
- 5:45-6 p.m., open gym
- 6-6:30 p.m., session 1
- 6:30-6:40 p.m., snack break and celebration of birthdays
- 6:40-7:05, session 2
- 7:05-7:15 p.m., weekly highlights and prizes
- 7:15-7:30 p.m., open gym
“Since this is such a new endeavor, we are working to assess the needs and will continue to build a program according to who shows up and what they need help with,” Goode said. “Currently, we’re offering three classrooms — math, reading and writing, and miscellaneous — for the kids to choose where they most need to go for the evening. We are then providing volunteers in each classroom who are experienced or interested in helping with that particular subject.”
Goode said they have experienced people from all walks of life who choose to get involved and volunteer with the Homework Club. She said they have parents, grandparents, current teachers and retired teachers, as well as junior and senior high school students who come to volunteer.
“We’ve also been blessed to see friends helping out friends, and if you can believe it, siblings helping out siblings,” Goode said. “We’ve met with a teacher from Union Ridge Elementary School who is willing to be a liaison between the Homework Club and the school. She has offered to keep us informed of the needs of the kids and to assist/support in whatever way possible.”
Mid-way through the evening on Wednesdays, Goode said those in attendance take a snack break. She said a gentleman from the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene, Terry Wolf, has volunteered to bring the kids his “world-famous” peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Homework Club volunteers also provide milk and cookies if anyone in attendance would like that. During the snack break, Goode said they also pause to celebrate anyone who has a birthday that week and offer them a chance to choose a gift from the treasure bin.
“We would greatly appreciate donations of small, fun items to help the kids feel loved on their special day,” Goode said.
Although kids are encouraged to bring their homework to the weekly meetup if they have it, Goode said students are also encouraged to come if they don’t have any homework. Several teachers are helping gather together practice worksheets and things for the kids to do if they don’t have any specific homework to work on that particular evening.
Kids would attend the Homework Club also have access to an assortment of computers, learning games, math-fact worksheets and books. However, Goode said they would appreciate any additional help with these types of items if people have anything to donate, specifically reading and writing worksheets, games and/or activities.
In addition, they have also started a pen pal program through Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene for kids who are interested in having the opportunity to write letters back and forth with a senior adult.
Goode said the goal of Compassion 360 is to coordinate churches, schools and other agencies in the 360 area code to respond to individual, family and community needs.
“As we help students to achieve success at school, we can help provide for a better future for them and their families,” Goode said. “We understand and have experienced seasons of life which are marked by need, as well as seasons of life where there is plenty. We hope to continue our mission by providing another environment for individuals and families to both come for assistance and give assistance to those around them.”
In addition to the current offerings through the Homework Club, Goode said they are also working on conjunction with the Ridgefield Family Resource Center and the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene’s Clothing-Share program as well. They are working on organizing a way for the kids who have no homework to take the time to sort clothing and shoes for the Family Resource Center. Any parents who are dropping off their kids are also invited to stay and sort clothing.
The next Clothing-Share event is set for Fri.-Sat., Feb. 3-4. More information on this is available at the Compassion 360 website.
For more information on Compassion 360 and the different programs/events they offer visit www.compassion360.org.