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Photo Gallery | Cato elementary kids learn from 'encouragers'

These photos were sent to us by Janet O'Neal of the Pulaski County Special School District. O'Neal says the pictures "speak volumes of what this program means for so many elementary students in our district." She also sent the following release to Today's THV.

Adult men or women, young or old, who are interested in helping at-risk elementary students  reap academic and behavioral success, and be a friend to a child, are needed to volunteer for the Encouragers Program, now in place at 11 Pulaski County Special School District elementary schools. The program has increased this school year from seven schools to 11 and the additional new schools are seeking volunteers.  Those schools include Sherwood, Tolleson, Dupree and College Station elementary schools.

What are Encouragers? In addition to being an in-school tutor, encouragers are someone who:

  • Is capable of loving and caring about a child
  • Can accept a child for who they are, not who they wish they could be
  • Values children
  • Values education
  • Is willing to walk out of their comfort zone into the life of a child who needs them
  • Will make a commitment of time with faithfulness

The Encouragers Program has been in place at Cato Elementary for five years, and according to Instructional Facilitator Risa Briggs, “The bond these children form with their encourager is amazing. The students love the one-on-one time and look forward to each weekly visit.”

After completing a one-hour training session, Encouragers spend 30 minutes each with the same two children each week. The philosophy behind this small but effective effort is that one-on-one relationships reap academic and behavioral success. Undivided attention from a caring adult on a regular weekly basis can make a huge difference in an indifferent at-risk child.

If interested in becoming an Encourager, contact Encourager Program Manager Carol Martin at 501-758-4054 or at cmartin.step@gmail.com.

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