Florida trip rewards students who volunteered time, skills as tutors
By Rita Howell
A group of 17 students and adults traveled to Orlando, Fla. last month on a trip that was a reward for the students’ volunteer work with an area literacy program. Trinity Educators, a local non-profit educational enrichment organization, sponsors literacy classes in Charleston and Glendora, with young people volunteering their service as tutors. Students from Batesville, Charleston, Oakland, and Glendora were trained as tutors for the program. To raise funds for this and other programs sponsored by Trinity Educators, the students have worked in concessions at Ole Miss throughout the past year. The concession stand experience fulfills one of Trinity’s objectives for its young members, teaching entrepreneurial skills and encouraging work ethics, according to LaSherry Irby, Batesville Elementary School principal and Trinity volunteer. Students who had faithful records of participation in the concession stand duty and in the tutoring program were rewarded with the trip, Irby said. The group visited Sea World to see the Shamu Whale Show, along with other educational shows. The youngsters also exercised their map skills. After an introductory course of bus lines and map codes, Irby explained, students were challenged (with adult chaperons) to select interest points they wanted to explore and use their maps, bus passes, and digital cameras to tour the city. “That was an awesome opportunity for students to go to a large city and try to get around with themselves as the guide,” Irby said. The group flew from Jackson to Orlando, allowing several students the opportunity to fly who have never flown before. The trip was financed by fund-raisers, donations and parents, Irby said. Literacy Program, a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has helped fund Trinity’s literacy program, which is offered to children ages 5 through adult. Adults have the opportunity to enroll in GED classes and receive support throughout the process. The Dollar General grant allows Trinity to offer four hours of tutorial services to students in the area one Saturday per month at Williams Lodge in Charleston and the Community Park in Glendora. Participants are first assessed to be assigned to a group on their academic level. Those who come for tutoring receive a free book at the end of each tutorial session. Parents of students who attend the tutorial sessions were required to attend classes on homework help and ways to help their child succeed in school, as one of the requirements for enrollment. Trinity has also been listed in the national directory of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to offer GED services. Information on GED services can be obtained by calling (662) 609-2798. Trinity’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The organization also has a Facebook.
Kids enjoy hatchery tour and fishing trip
By Rita Howell
Attending a tour of the Enid Lake Fish Hatchery last month were 78 young participants in the non-profit Trinity Educators youth initiative program. The youngsters were given a guided tour of the hatchery facilities and a nature trail walk, according to LaSherry Irby, one of the adult volunteers who have formed Trinity Educators to serve local youth. The hatchery normally doesn’t schedule tours on Saturdays, Irby said, but staff members made an exception in this case and made a special trip to work on their day off to guide the tours. Justin Wilkins, the hatchery’s manager, was on hand, as well as Debra Freeman who guided the tour of the Nature Trail. The children also enjoyed fishing classes which consisted of making fishing poles/canes and basic casting techniques. Clay Taylor, Trinity CEO, said this was the largest turnout since the group began meeting monthly in February. Trinity received a grant from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to introduce children ages 10-18 to a wide range of outdoor and related activities. Taylor also said the group is making plans to extend the classes, which were originally set to conclude in May. Taylor said the extension would depend on securing more funding and volunteers. For more information about joining the group, or about volunteering to help, contact Irby at (662) 563-4166.