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CLHS students participate in immigrant outreach tutoring program at Fort Wayne school

By Abbey Brennan ’18
From the Spring 2016 Cadets Magazine

It is often said that helping others is the best way to help yourself. 

This year, a group of Concordia students have experienced this through the immigrant outreach tutoring program at Forest Park Elementary, a public school in Fort Wayne. 

This program consists of 33 students and is the largest study connection group in the Fort Wayne Community district. 

Every Wednesday, Concordia students drive or ride a bus over to Forest Park and spend one hour working one-on-one with the same child. These students range from second to fifth grade and make up a variety of ethnicities, including Karen, Chin, Chad, Somalian and Mexican. Most of them speak English well and learn quickly through talking to other kids that speak English. 

This program started through Concordia Lutheran Church. The church wanted to create an immigrant outreach program and searched all over Fort Wayne for opportunities. 

The Rev. Dr. Jon Anderson from Concordia Church took charge of this opportunity and asked for volunteers from the high school. Anderson is a retired faculty member of CLHS and helped to start Concordia’s Koinonia fellowship and service program.

“Immediately, there were 20 or maybe 30 who asked to have applications, and within a week, most of them already had them in,” he said. 

Training then began in the fall, but the CLHS students did not start working with the Forest Park students until Feb. 10. 

The program started out with only fifth graders, but has quickly grown to include students through second grade. The program is still growing as more kids and more tutors ask to join. It will go on until the end of May and is expected to start up again within the first month of the next school year. 

Though it has only gone on for a few weeks, it has had an impact on many of the kids and students. 

“My favorite part about this is that we meet with the same person each week, so we get to build that connection with our student,” said Drew Amstutz, a tutor and sophomore at Concordia. 

Each week, the high school students spend time working on spelling and math homework. When they finish, they often read books together and talk about them.

The students meet with the same child every week, which is a great way for them to grow closer and work together more easily. 

All in all, this has been a great experience for both the tutors and the kids, and both seem very grateful for this opportunity. 

“The kids are very privileged to spend this time here, and it’s amazing because they love it. Just being a part of this is exciting,” said Teri Fox, a Forest Park teacher.