An after-school tutoring program for children of Guatemalan immigrants is available Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Evangel Church as part of a ministry offered by Nueva Vida. Here, volunteer Billie McClure is shown at right assisting Petronila Roms with her homework. (Photo by Ali Holcomb)

Volunteers sought in tutoring program for children of immigrants

An after-school tutoring program at Evangel Church is serving children of immigrant families, and more volunteers are needed to assist the students.

The tutoring program is an outreach of Nueva Vida, which is a ministry of Evangel Church that serves the Hispanic population in the county. The ministry is led by Pastor Hector Sanchez, and Sherry Kuglin serves as the director of the tutoring program.

The free tutoring program, which runs 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, was started “seven or eight” years ago, according to Pastor Sanchez. It serves Holton students in grades first through fifth grade.

“We started the program because the parents of the children don’t speak English at all,” Pastor Sanchez said. “They have a lot of difficulties helping their children with homework. It’s not only a problem here in Holton, but it’s a problem in many places. English is one of the most difficult languages in the world.”

In its first year, Pastor Sanchez said the program served 45 students, and he recruited several church members to volunteer as tutors. 

“I asked them ‘Can you help me please with the children?’ and they said they didn’t speak Spanish and I said ‘Good, you don’t need it,’” he said. “Most of the children speak English very well.” 

About 350 Guatemalan families have immigrated to Jackson County in recent years with may working at the Johnsonville sausage processing plant, Pastor Sanchez said. 

“The reason the parents come to the United States is to have a better life and offer a better life to their children so they are very open to these types of programs,” he said. “The parents really want their kids to stay with of the program because they believe it’s very important. The only way the parents can help is if they send their children. I think it’s a good thing. The program has a good influence on the children and the parents, too.” 

Due to COVID-19, the tutoring program stopped for two years and was re-started this fall with Kuglin, who worked as a teacher at Jackson Heights for 41 years, serving as the program director.

For more on this and other stories, please log in to your account and select Jan. 18, 2023 under “E-Editions.”

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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