Tacoma tells adults: Give the kids an hour to catch up

Oct 4, 2011

Thousands of students in Tacoma are behind in school, according to state tests that show they’re not meeting grade-level expectations. City leaders say if adults in the community pitch in just one hour a week, it could help these kids catch up.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland says her own experience as a student in the city’s public schools shows how outside support can make a difference:

“I received a good education. Now, I had the benefit of having two parents at home who were extremely involved in my academic performance. Not every child is that lucky. The reality is that some parents simply aren’t going to get involved. So, how do we make up for that?”

She and a coalition of community organizations think volunteers could fill the void. Through an effort called “Find An Hour,” they hope to recruit a massive team of adults who have 60 minutes a week to spare for a child who needs a tutor or mentor.

Volunteers can choose from several opportunities or be matched with kids based on interest, location and time of day

Organizers say if they can get enough adults to meet with students at least a few dozen times, kids will have made huge gains by this time next year.