For years now, The University Church has supported outreach efforts at Reynolds Elementary School. Under the leadership of Tiffany Ways, our church outreach has gone from volunteering in the school library a few years ago to having comprehensive after-school program for K-8th grade. Last spring, we applied for a 21st Century Grant to expand programming to Rogers High School. Since receiving the grant, Josh Davies, who moved from Reynolds to Rogers to start the new program, and Erin Lein, the newly hired Site Coordinator, have been working full time at Rogers to run LEAD.
Since October 2nd, LEAD has provided a well-rounded after school experience for students at Rogers High School. Every Monday-Thursday, students are able to come to LEAD to get help with homework, engage in hands-on learning activities, interact with speakers from various careers, play ping pong, talk with friends, and enjoy a nice meal.
The response from the Rogers community has been very positive. To date, over 100 students have applied to be part of LEAD, and roughly 25 students come on any given day. In addition to Josh and Erin, LEAD has four tutors and three Rogers teachers who stay after school throughout the week to work with students. Students who show significant improvements in their grades, attendance, or behavior receive gift cards as incentives to sustain their good work.
Career speakers so far have included a social worker, blood spatter analyst, dental hygienist, plastination scientist, college admissions officers, and cosmetologists. LEAD students have enjoyed exploring possibilities as they plan for their futures.