Grace Church is offering help to students in need of some one-on-one help with homework during distance learning through the church’s student ministries.

Sal Espino, who works in the student ministries, said Grace is offering help for junior high students on Monday and high school students on Wednesday, hosting about 10 students each day for 2 hours in the afternoon at the church’s student center.

“Obviously with everything going on with coronavirus we’ve had a lot of disconnect just from our families, from our students not being able to meet in person with them really well,” Espino said.

In July the church began meeting outdoors and has been trying to connect with students ever since.

“We know that school has been up in the air for a very long time and we’re sort of coming down to the very last bit of school and we know that our kids are struggling,” Espino said. “We know that it is hard to do school with distance learning and it’s hard to be at home all day long.”

Students will be able to get help with homework from tutors and have a quiet place to do schoolwork away from distractions.

“With distance learning, we know that sometimes it’s not that the kids don’t understand. It’s just needing that little bit of one-on-one time to connect the dots, and if anything, we can offer that,” Espino said.

The first week Grace had the homework help open, it was just mainly for students of church members. Espino said they didn’t have a very large response so staff decided to offer the help to any family in the community.

If there is strong interest for the student help the church has room to grow the program.

“If we can serve the whole community better, if it grows, we have a very large worship center that’s a gymnasium, so we can fit a hundred people in there,” Espino said.

Parents can register their students online at the church’s website. Slots are currently available from 2 to 4 p.m. but Espino said they can add more time in the future depending on demand.

High school students needing community service hours can also sign up to be a tutor and help.

“We’re still taking all the safety precautions — we’re doing safe distancing, our youth room is outfitted with 10 separate spaces, we’re requiring masks, we’re taking temperatures, we’re making sure everything is cleaned and sanitized every time — and we are like ‘let’s see where this goes,’” Espino said.

Church members who have teaching experience willing to tutor will help the students with their work.

“A lot of the schools are not open to just to have somewhere to do their schoolwork and get a little extra help. It’s hard for teachers to do the one-on-one thing. They’ve got a lot of things going on,” Espino said. “I was like, ‘I have worked in afterschool programs, this is something we can do where we can help these kids.’”

To sign up for the student ministries homework help visit the church’s website at https://gracetracy.churchcenter.com/registrations/events or contact Espino at sal@gracelife.net.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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