Grant-funded program means academic success for students

“Just wanted you to know how well Jonathan is doing in math. He went from a 53 to an 83. Thank you for all the help with him.” That kind of text message is music to a tutor’s ears. In this case, it was sent by a parent to Cindy Falk of First Baptist Church of Cooperstown, N.Y.’s Education Lab, supported by a Louise Burchard Pierce Memorial Fund grant awarded by American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS).

In a report to ABHMS, Falk writes that the program has had a “direct impact on the educational success of students who are receiving tutoring services—students getting better grades, passing courses, developing study skills.”

Participants were 13 students from the Cooperstown Central School District, ranging in age from kindergarten to 10th grade.

Falk notes that “increased support in the form of financial contributions and volunteer hours both from ecumenical Christian partners and non-religious organizations” means that the project has not required much of the grant money. “Once the ABHMS grant was announced, a local organization—the Angel Network—agreed to match it and has paid many of the tutors,” Falk writes. “At the same time, volunteers have emerged from the Baptist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Rotary Club and the school.

“The church is able to offer its space free of charge,” she continues, “because the ABHMS funding will help cover costs for utilities and cleaning and will help provide scholarships for children who could not otherwise afford to attend.”

Thanks again to additional funding partnerships, 51 children from multiple school districts attended the Education Lab this summer when the organization partnered with a private company to offer day camps in its church fellowship hall. This fall, they are working with the same company to offer the Creative Homework Helpers Club after school to 20 students under age 13.

Grants from the Louise Burchard Pierce Memorial Fund are awarded to qualifying churches in rural New York state.