As summer nears its end, I ask you to please remember the children of Epworth as they anticipate the start of school. The Epworth academic program has seen noteworthy success through the years and it is changing the lives of children, like Derek.*
Derek came to Epworth last summer as a 15 year old after experiencing a childhood of neglect and poverty at home. His parents struggled to care for him as they came in and out his life. Derek essentially grew up on the streets. He learned to “look out” for himself, but he never learned the discipline or value of education. When he was placed at Epworth by the SC Department of Social Services (DSS), he was years behind his peers developmentally and academically, and he was placed in self-contained classrooms so that he could take courses at a slower pace. He longed to be in the regular classroom but needed to prove himself behaviorally and academically.
Without a foundation of educational priority, Derek struggled mightily. He frequently skipped his Epworth tutoring sessions and his classroom performance reflected this. The first semester, he failed all but one class. As the winter months came along, something finally caught Derek’s attention. His cottagemate, Marcus, was bragging that he received a letter saying that he earned $120 through Epworth’s Academic Incentive Program for attending tutoring and earning good grades. Epworth’s academic program encourages children to treat school as their job. As part of that encouragement children earn modest monetary rewards if they attend tutoring sessions and for each A and B they earn.
Hearing of his friend’s success, Derek quickly ran to the academic center and asked for his letter. He had earned only $1 for his academic efforts. Immediately, Derek changed his approach to school. He started attending tutoring sessions and taking his schoolwork more seriously. He even asked for additional tutoring in the cottage 2-3 times a week. With the extra effort, his performance in school turned around.
On his 4th quarter report card he earned 5 A’s and 2 B’s! Not only did his grades improve (and his incentive money) but his performance qualified him to move out of the self-contained classroom and into traditional classes next year. This is especially important because he now qualifies to work towards a high school diploma.
The transformation that Derek experienced last academic year is just one of many academic success stories at Epworth. Different methods reach different children, and Epworth works to meet all of their individual needs.
As we begin a new school year we invite you to consider continuing your support for the care of children at Epworth by making a contribution to this life-changing ministry. Your gift will enable Epworth to help children like Derek break the cycle of abuse, neglect and shame, and achieve the academic success required for a bright future.
John Holler, President
support Epworth’s program as children head back to school