CLARION, Pa. – The 537 Clarion: Community Learning Workshop located on Main Street has received further grants to grow after a successful first semester in the fall.
Professors Rich Lane and Leah Chambers of Clarion University opened the center in October with the help of student volunteers. The center provides several literacy services including drop-in homework help sessions.
Among the grants is an $8,000 Spark Grant from Pittsburgh’s Sprout Fund.
The center has a host of programs already lined up for the rest of the spring semester, including a visit by a children’s author and a Team Read. This will take place Thursday March 6 at 6:30 p.m. A team from Clarion University will participate in reading and writing activities. This event ,hosted by the Clarion University Women’s soccer team, is limited to 25 spaces and the RSVP deadline was Monday March 2.
Lane began a similar center in Salt Lake City when he worked at the University of Utah, and said, “So our initial thing was to start one here for a while, but rural funding was hard to get.”
He said that funding came from a university grant and outside sources.
“Now, we are getting outside grants that source to really fund our programming mostly, but some of the nuts and bolts, but mostly programming – that was the initial thing,” Lane said.
Lane continued to say that Title One students receive homework help and extra classes from school, which is based partly on economical factors and academic factors, although the center helps all students. Adult members of the community have also used the center to learn social media and anything to enhance literacy needs including art and music.
“We see kids mostly from elementary school or elementary school through middle school. We have been seeing more high school kids now,” Chambers said. “We hope to expand our programs, expand our volunteer base.”
She also said that everything offered is free, including homework help, the programs and even tutoring. The popularity of the center is growing through word of mouth from student to student and parent to parent.
Victoria Eisley, a junior speech pathology major, is a student volunteer for the center. She is also part of Lane’s 400 level English class.
While helping two local students on their homework, she said, “I would have done this even without the class. For the grade in the class you need about two hours, but I am here three to four days a week just because I enjoy it, and I get a lot of work done here as a side note. Being here is a lot of fun. I definitely learn a lot. Not only do you have the ability to teach other students but I get a lot out of this.”
She added that the “collaborative learning” that takes place between volunteers and students works and she can learn from the students too. “The kids get a lot out of learning here,” Eisley said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]