A donation of $ 10,000 will help Hope For Opelousas continue its after-school mentoring and tutoring program for low-income children.
Heritage Manor and Senior Village retirement homes donated money to the association this month. The donation follows two similar grants from Louisiana Charities.
“The money will not be used for a particular project, but we will use it for working capital that will continue our engagement program with children and families at Opelousas,” said Loren Carriere, executive director of the program. .
Hope For Opelousas, founded in 2008 by Carriere and a nine-member board of directors, started with 12 children and today has around 100 registrations.
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“We are not here to replace the school system,” Carriere said. “What we do with our tutors, who are also high school and college students, is provide help with things like homework and overall educational support.
“Some of our children may have reading problems, and we help with that by offering reading assessments and workshops that can spot problems that can be corrected. We are there to support the school system.
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The program seeks to include every member of the family to help students improve academically.
“We have a waiting list for students. One of the reasons is that we prioritize involvement with family, ”Carriere said. “We also try to accommodate all the children of a particular family, that way we have more full access to everyone, which we believe increases the chances of success.
The extracurricular sessions at several different sites along Madison Street, on the edge of an Opelousas neighborhood known as “The Hill,” also feature Bible studies, guest speakers, and summer camps.
“This year each of the classes will be involved in growing food, so that each of the families can bring home vegetables at the end of the growing seasons,” Carriere said.
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The program uses five brightly colored homes along Madison Street, where students are sorted by grade level. Hope For Opelousas used money donated by other organizations to buy and renovate homes. The group also organized volunteers to help neighborhood families renovate their homes.
“We also ensure community development with our projects,” said Carriere. “A house we bought was from a sheriff’s sale. This has allowed us to increase the equity of all homes in the area.