Volunteer campaign urges Tacoma to spare an hour for youth

David Droge believes even the busiest people have at least one hour to spare.

The Lincoln High School writing coach used this simple idea as a way to get more volunteers on the South End high school’s campus.

That effort has morphed into a city-wide call for caring adults who can spare an hour to connect with a local student.

“We’re asking for an hour a week. No matter how busy people are they can probably find an hour,” Droge said.

Droge pointed to research that states if a child has a one-on-one connection with a caring adult, even for just one hour a week, their academic success improves dramatically.

Through the Find An Hour campaign, which launched this week with an official proclamation by Mayor Marilyn Strickland Oct. 4, volunteers will be connected with youth of all ages, who they can either tutor or mentor, depending on their experience and interests.

“You don’t have to be an education expert to be effective,” Droge said. “We want to see people who are successful in a variety of walks of life.” The goal is to find 1,000 adult volunteers who will take on this challenge, and spare an hour of their week for a child who needs it.

“We are the connectors. We are recruiting and connecting people with where the needs are – there are lots,” Droge said. “A connection with a caring adult can help build a sense of resiliency… help a student continue their education, go to college, and avoid temptations of crime and drugs.” Find An Hour is a joint effort between various community groups and organizations, including places like Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA and Communities in Schools who already work directly with local youth.

All volunteers will be given a crash-course in basic tutoring and mentoring techniques so that they are as effective as possible when working with the youth.

“We provide some basic training on developing caring relationships,” Droge said. “You’re providing support – not answers – for students. You’re helping them find the answers.”

Orientation sessions will be held weekly this month, as well as a few orientation options in November and December.

Upcoming orientation sessions are from 6-7 p.m. Oct. 12 at Big Brothers & Big Sisters, 2107 S. 12th St.; 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Oct.19 at King’s Books 218 Saint Helens Ave.; 6:30- 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at Reach Center - 714 South 27th St.; and from noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 24. Boys & Girls Club Henry T. Schatz Branch, 3875 S. 66th St. For more info go to http://findanhour.org/ or call (253) 271-8188.


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