GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
A partnership between the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce and School District 51 is helping students move into the next chapter of their studies.
The program, called the 500 Plan, will soon turn the page on its third year in the Grand Valley.
"Their reading definitely improves during the time I am with them and it's just a fun time," said Kristi Adams, who has been volunteering with the 500 Plan since its inception. “It also helps with the issues of one teacher dealing with 30 kids in the classroom, because we are able to spend some one-on-one time with that child.”
The after-school program is a simple concept, with huge rewards. They have a goal of creating a world class education, by collecting 500 volunteers who will commit to working with elementary students one hour a week.
"Because 500 hours a week working with some of our elementary students can make a huge difference in their future success," said Diane Schwenke, CEO of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce.
The program has already seen a huge enhancement in the children being tutored.
Students being tutored are reporting an improvement on test scores about 4 to 6 percent above their peers.
“Students in the 500 Plan have grown more than their peers in the district and more than their peers across the state,” said Christy McGee, spokesperson for School District 51.
School officials say though nearly 100 students are enrolled in the program each quarter, the plan could provide a lot more help with additional volunteers.
“We definitely need more. I don't think 500 is enough,” said Adams. “We have 21,000 students in our school district, so it would be fantastic if we have 21,000 people willing to spend an hour with a child each week.”
A student is placed in the program after a teacher determines the child would benefit from the plan. School officials say the kids who need the most help still receive it from trained school professionals.
The program currently has just over 220 volunteers, but is looking for some extra helping hands. Tutoring sessions will begin in October, and for more information on how you can get involved, click here.