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Englewood, Chatham

Free Tutoring Available Thanks To These Nonprofits Trying To Help Students Through Tumultuous Year

Burst Into Books and Mothers Against Senseless Killings are matching tutors with students.

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ENGLEWOOD — Two Southwest Side nonprofits are hiring tutors and matching them with students to help them continue to learn amid the tumultuous end to the school year.

Schools have been shut down since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with students expected to participate online. But Chicago Public Schools says less than 60 percent of its students have logged on for remote learning three times a week. And the state recently announced schools could have in-person classes over the summer, but Chicago’s public school district hasn’t said yet if it will participate.

Hoping to help, Burst Into Books founder Jurema Gorham aims to provide local students with 150 hours of free online tutoring over the summer through her nonprofit, which promotes childhood literacy.

Gorham has spent weeks interviewing tutors for the summer program, hiring 15 of them to help 25 students — from kindergarten to 12th grade — once a week, with the option of adding additional hours based on need.

The program starts July 6 and runs until Aug. 16.

“During this time, how our children are progressing academically has been top of mind of parents and educators,” Gorham said “With so much going on in the world, Burst Into Books is committed to ensuring our children are taken care of. As we are coming together to rebuild our communities, let’s rally to invest in our future leaders.”

Gorham is also raising money to cover the cost of the program. So far, she’s raised $1,735 of the $6,000 needed to cover the entire summer, hoping to meet the goal by July 1.

People can send a tax-deductible donation through the Burst Into Books website or through Cash.me.

In addition, Mothers Against Sense Killings, also known as MASK, recently launched a free, virtual Study Buddy program of its own, and organizers are looking for tutors and students to sign up.

People looking to volunteer can fill out an online form, and families looking for tutoring help can sign up online. Volunteers and students must be able to commit to a three-hour weekly session.

“COVID-19 has elevated our educational crisis to an emergency,” said MASK founder Tamar Manasseh, who started a community school once the pandemic closed schools. “We have to make sure these kids are prepared for next year.”

The Study Buddy program is open to students from kindergarten to eighth grade, and tutors and students will be matched based on subject. Those interested can contact MASK here.

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