Tutoring, clubs benefit apartment residents

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Beth Manci helps Khadijana Tate, 6, with her reading at North Augusta Gardens Learning Center. Apartment manager Rose Rivers donated the townhouse.

NORTH AUGUSTA --- Missionaries with Fairview Presbyterian Church in North Augusta are teaching one apartment community a variety of life skills.


From fishing to GED classes, these programs help make life easier for residents of North Augusta Gardens, a Section 8 housing community.

What Lyn Fleming and other members of Fairview Presbyterian Church began as a tutoring program two years ago for elementary-age children has grown to include a Cub Scout pack, girl's club and most recently the chance for adults to earn their GED.

John Shearouse, a leader of Cub Scout Pack 31, said he believes the program has saved some children from going to jail by teaching traits such as character and leadership. He spoke of one boy with an aggressive personality that changed as a result of Cub Scouts.

"Now he is just gentled out, more caring, and mainly his temper is better," Mr. Shearouse said.

Cub Scouts give boys a place to belong and something to do with their time, said Rose Rivers, the apartment manager. It's also taught them respect.

"They protect their property more," Ms. Rivers said. "They want to see it taken care of. They are more respectful to each other, to the adults. That has really changed those boys."

Girls have a similar program, The Garden Girls club, in which they do crafts and other activities.

Nakema Charles, 10, participates in the club and tutoring programs offered through the church. She said tutors have helped her overcome her worst subjects, math and social studies.

"They are my best subjects now," she said. "Now the worst is science."

On Nov. 4, the North Augusta Gardens Learning Center opened. The three-bedroom townhouse, donated by Ms. Rivers, can serve 15 or so children at once. Before it opened, tutoring was offered in a cramped room in the apartment office and couldn't accommodate all who needed academic help.

The next step is to begin a mentoring program, such as Big Brothers, for boys.

"We need all the support we can get in order to make this grow," she said. "We're determined to help each other."

Reach Crystal Garcia at (706) 823-3409 or crystal.garcia@augustachronicle.com.

Ged class

WHERE: North Augusta Gardens, 310 W. Hugh St.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon, Monday-Thursday

COSTS: $35 for class, $80 for the test

CONTACT: North Augusta Gardens apartment manager Rose Rivers at (803) 279-9782




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