Volunteers set great example

Published 1:51 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

The local women who recently formed CHARMS might never have studied the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, who led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. But they are certainly putting his words into action.

“Be the change you want to see in the world,” he said, echoing an idea from ancient India.

This group of volunteers want area children to get a good educational foundation, and they’re busy helping build those foundations. Low graduation rates, high teen pregnancy rates and other social problems, they believe, can be traced back to education levels. So they are devoting their time to tutoring youngsters.

““Kindergarteners are expected to know their letters and numbers, and students in first grade are expected to be reading not long after starting school (in August),” Hazel Lewis said. “Those two facts alone show how important it is to get a good foundation built in education.”

Volunteers for CHARMS, or Citizens Helping Children Achieve Reading and Math Skills, devote two hours each Tuesday and Thursday at Bright Beginnings Preschool, offering tutoring for students in first through fifth grades. The dozen-or-so volunteers are mostly retired educators. The tutoring is free to anyone willing to bring the child to the preschool.

Every day, we hear people lament societal problems. It’s refreshing to see this group doing something about them.