Faith & Family: Local sorority answers prayers of youth tutoring center
NATCHEZ — Members of a local service organization answered the prayers of Joe and Diane Good by adopting an after-school tutoring center as part of a community project to help empower young boys and girls to make a difference in the community.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated (AKA) Zeta Delta Omega chapter adopted the D&J Resource Research Computer Center to help partner, assist and support the center’s mission and goals.
Joe and Diane Good started the D&J Youth Group a few years ago to expose children in Natchez to travel and culture they might not otherwise get a chance to see. The group takes small regional day trips to events in Baton Rouge, Jackson and Monroe, La., but has also traveled to San Antonio, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
As part of the mission to mold the children who participate in the group, D&J expanded its focus in 2012 to include an after-school computer and tutoring center.
The expansion began initially because area children were going to the Goods’ house to use their Internet access after school. The Goods opened the center in a couple of donated shotgun houses on Claiborne Street.
Joe said members of the sorority heard about the center and asked how they could help.
“They just told us they wanted to help out any way they could,” Joe said. “They really answered our prayers, because we’ve been hoping for a group like this to come forward and help us.”
Martha Griffin, who chairs the project for AKA, said other sorority members were looking for any way to help out the Goods after learning about their mission.
“The Goods have done so well in the last couple of years for our community, and the sorority wanted to assist them any way we could,” Griffin said. “We’re going to be doing several things there, but basically we are there to assist the Goods and help them tutor the kids to do better in school, make better grades and be productive in the community.”
Griffin said the chapter’s first activity came the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when members helped nearly 15 students complete an ACT online workshop that included them signing up to take the college prep test in April.
“Without the center, these kids would not have been able to do any of that,” Griffin said. “We’re just excited to be helping out any way we can.”
Gwen Marshall, co-chair of the project, is a retired educator who taught for 44 years throughout the Natchez-Adams School District and at the Adams County Juvenile Detention Center.
But in some ways, Marshall says, she’s never stopped teaching.
“I’ve always had a sweet spot for helping children even after I retired,” Marshall said. “When our group decided to do a community service project, we knew adopting the center was the perfect thing because some of us had already seen the great things the Goods had done there.”
Marshall said members of AKA will be at the center at least twice a week tutoring students in whatever subject they need help.
Other lessons, such as personal finance and social etiquette that are not taught in school, will also be a subject the AKAs help teach.
“The children there are very interested in bettering themselves and achieving great things, so it’s our desire to be a guiding light for them and do whatever we can for them,” Marshall said. “I used to always tell my children in the classroom that there’s a world outside of Natchez out there, so our goal is to get these students ready for that world.”
The center is open to any student wishing to receive tutoring.
For more information on the center, contact the Goods at 601-442-4169 or 601-597-2815.