When struggling students call, Sunny Birney answers.
As the tutoring coordinator at Oberlin Community Services, she started a free program to help kids and adults excel in classes such as science, history, and English.
“People would call to look for help in reading and spelling and my concern was turning people away,” she said. “There are many other needs in the community that need to be met.”
She saw the new effort as an opportunity to expand the tutoring program already offered at Oberlin Community Services.
In a partnership with America Counts, a national program designed to help improve math performance, Oberlin College students are compensated through federal work-study funds to provide math tutoring to students in grades K-9.
The new tutoring program offers services for Oberlin students through grade 12, but Birney said the doors are also open for people living in surrounding cities.
“I don’t want to be the one to turn anybody away and I don’t want people to feel like they can’t get help because they don’t live here,” she said. “Whoever needs us, we’re available.”
The college’s cross country and track teams have volunteered to tutor. Birney said she needs all the help she can get — adults who have a free hour in the evening can drop in to assist or give a talk to inspire students.
“We’re not only here to help you get good grades,” Birney said. “We want you to be innovative, we want you to be creative, and we want you to have as much accessibility and opportunity to exercise your gifts and talents and skills.”
Tutoring is from 6-9 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays in the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church. For more information, call Oberlin Community Services at 440-774-6579.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.