By: Tim Reaves, Communications Department
An innovative weekly program hosted by two BCS middle schools is bringing families together and gained the attention of state government this week.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper visited Enka Middle School on Tuesday to sit in on the United Way's Homework Diners program, which allows students to receive homework support from teachers and volunteer tutors, along with a free meal for the whole family. Erwin Middle School also hosts the program on Mondays.
"I wanted to see this program, how it's working and whether it can be replicated in other parts of the state," Cooper said. "It combines a lot of things I think are important -- education, volunteerism, family and food."
In addition to the homework help and meal, families have a chance to learn about community resources and take advantage of a variety of educational programs at these events, according to the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County website.
“They really help,” said Traci Wallace, whose son, Eli, attends Enka Middle. “Sometimes I don’t have time to make a meal and help him with his homework. And sometimes I don’t have time to look up the information that he’s working on.”
Families like Traci’s come to the cafeteria after school, grab a healthy, tasty meal from the United Way chefs, and sit down to work on the homework. Teachers and volunteers patrol the room, ready to help.
"I just came to lend my support and be a role model for the kids," said Sean McDowell, a junior at T.C. Roberson High School who volunteered to tutor younger students on Tuesday. "It's really important in our community to give back. It brings us closer together as a community."
Cooper has declared April 23-29 as Volunteerism week in North Carolina. He is traveling around the state to observe and participate in volunteer projects like Homework Diners.
"I want to encourage volunteers," he said. "Volunteerism is important, because the government can't just come in and do everything. I know teachers and parents appreciate tutors and mentors who come in and help."
Homework diners take place at Erwin Middle School on Mondays from 5:30-7 p.m. and at Enka Middle School on Tuesdays from 5-7 p.m. – in the cafeterias of each school, respectively.
about the United Way's Homework Diner program