Giving Love to Children through Tutoring

( [email protected] ) Feb 03, 2004 03:20 PM EST

Des Moines, IA -- "One of the most important things is to have an impact on youth, to reach inner-city and at-risk kids and see them brought out the cycle of poverty," said Dennis Ogden, an attorney, who is serving on the board of Good Samaritan Urban Ministries.

Recently, Ogden helped Good Samaritan launch a Whiz Kids program, which is a tutoring ministry that offers one-on-one time between an adult and a student.

With the help of his church, Valley Evangelical Free Church, Ogden has found a place for Whiz Kids and has recruited a few volunteers to hold tutoring one night a week.

He would like to see the program grow, but he said that more tutors are needed because of the increasing number of students who need such program.

"It's been really fun to see the kids come in," he said. "They're hesitant and not sure what's going to happen at first, but within a few weeks it's fun to see how excited they are."

LuAnn Hoxeng, the youth program manager for Good Samaritan, said the close relationship the student gets to form with the tutor is what makes the ministry important and meaningful.

"The tutor and the student form such a tight bond," Hoxeng said. "The most important thing is the relationship."

"If my tutor was gone, he would help me. He's a good guy," said Ben Van Patten, a fourth-grader at Rex Mathes Elementary School in West Des Moines. "I enjoy coming here, it helps me learn. I can bring in my homework and I can do it with my tutor."

"I like the time we have at the end," said Jessica Harris, a Clegg Park Elementary School fourth-grader. "We have something good to eat and somebody reads a book and shares about Jesus. I also like getting to play games here and reading."

Ogden said Whiz Kids not only provides tutoring but love and attention from another adult, what is most needed for a child. Ogden said what a tutor needs to have is a heart for children and a desire to see the children come to know Christ.