By Chanel Stitt
The doors opened, kids and tutors filed in to start their homework. They immediately started their homework and projects for the day.
The Washington Street Tutor Lab, an 826michigan project, was designed to make creativity flow, learn and receive help on any topic discussed in school along with making new friends. It can be used as a free tutoring service, but it is also a quiet place to do homework for anyone ranging from the ages of eight to eighteen.
“It brings people downtown in a way that is not related to commerce. It brings a lot of energy to the community,” said Bee Roll, owner of Beezy’s Cafe.
This is the third year that the tutoring lab has been hosted in Beezy’s cafe, where in the evening hours, it becomes the tutoring lab and creative station.
“I didn’t really get to focus on my homework at home and it’s a place where you see everyone working so you’re working too,” said Muntasir Kahn, 15, a student at WTMC. “It motivates you.”
Kahn has been in the program for five years and has shown improvement in his grades and keeping track of when his assignments are due.
“What struck me is the wide range of students who come in,” said Janet Goldwasser, one of the tutors. “Not just in terms of grade level, but some students who are not up to grade level.”
Goldwasser helps these students improve in the skills of math and english to help them gain the knowledge they need for their grade level.
Parents of students in the lab have noticed improvement in their children’s performance in school after coming to receive help and do homework. Steffanie Vick, mother of Anthony and Austin Vick, has observed that both of their self esteem’s have expanded. They are willing to talk to people more and ask questions in class.
Walt Webster, parent of Malik Webster, wishes that there were more programs like this for kids to be a part of.
“I know kids who have started here that are in medical school now,” said Walt Webster.
Washington Street Tutor Lab, a non-profit, accepts volunteers at all times and anyone is welcome-from college students to retirees who just want to help out in the community.
The tutors have to attend an introduction and a presentation about diversity and inclusion. Then a position becomes available to start working with the kids Monday through Thursday from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
“I took on creating creative workshops with the artists I work with to keep the student engaged in art and also show them that art can be bigger than it’s sold to be right now,” said Flwr.chld, the program assistant and rapper from Ypsilanti.
Tutoring with Washington Street Tutor Lab can also be turned in as a course credit. Internships are offered by 826michigan and require about twelve hours a week. It is possible to apply for these internships at any time of the year and they typically last for a semester’s length.
For more information, visit the website 826michigan.org.