Franklin Housing Authority students get help

Published 9:52 am Friday, October 19, 2012

Instructor Valencia Wright helps second-grader Jakari Boone during an after-school tutoring session at the Cameron Street apartment complex operated by the Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority. -- Andrew Faison | Tidewater News


FRANKLIN—The Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority is offering free tutoring to the children who live in its government-subsidized housing.

It’s something resident Sylvia Barnes, a great-grandmother of three, appreciates.

“When I received the paperwork for this, I jumped on it to help to keep mine from falling behind,” Barnes said. “I hope, that thanks to this program, my great-grandchildren will be on track and stay on track from the beginning of the school year.”

FRHA is in a unique position to help students and parents, said Philip Page Jr., the agency’s executive director.

“We are excited about it and looking to continue to offer it from year to year,” Page said.

The program has 64 enrolled, with 34 meeting on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Cameron Street location and 30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Pretlow locations.

“We originally had three locations, but what we did is with the Pretlow site being larger than the Bruce Street site, we are transporting the kids to the Pretlow site, combining those two together,” said Gwendolyn Blue, FRHA housing service manager.

The FRHA is partnering with the school system and working with parents to track students progress, said Blue.

“We are not the school system,” she said. “We don’t want to get in the way. We just want to help as much as possible.”

FRHA has partnered with LeVoc Family Services and Virginia Mentoring Partnership to provide the after-school program.

“I was really happy when we had the opportunity to partner with them and assist them,” said Ovelton Malone, owner of LeVoc.

The housing authority’s goal is to help residents’ students maintain and improve their grades and make sure they have the ability to pass standardized tests.

“The goals for the program are goals that are needed in this area,” said Malone. “We are talking about an area where the dropout rate continuously goes up, where children continuously don’t meet certain measures on their test scores.”