Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — Improving the educational ability of Medina’s youth is a community-wide task, a reality that is no more apparent than in the effort of For the Love of our Children, an after-school study program led by three local women.
Belinda Brady, Cheryl Brady Thompson and Michelle Russo all have personal ties to both the Medina Central School District and past professional ties to education.
That has created a passion to help a generation of students burdened by educational challenges, from increased testing and busy home lives.
In November, the trio of “concerned parents and citizens” re-organized an an effort that began in Thompson’s home several years ago at the Lee-Whedon Library. They already teach together as Sunday School leaders at Glad Tidings Baptist Church.
“We’re a team,” Russo said.
“It seems we can’t be separated,” Brady added.
With the donated space and a desire to help their community’s children, they have created an outlet for students three days each week. The goal is to provide a nurturing atmosphere that empowers students to strengthen their schoolwork.
“This is a place to work on homework and get extra support,” explained Russo, who worked for more than a decade at Head Start in Medina. “They might not have a quiet spot at home.”
Brady, an ISS facilitator at Wise Middle School, said she saw a need for student support outside of the classroom, which would back up the measurers taken in-district after Medina was designated as a Focus School.
“State testing is difficult for the kids,” Brady said before students arrived for Wednesday’s program. “I love working with them ... we hope they can see improvement.”
The trio tracks what work students bring to the program and encourages them to bring home books from the library.
Wednesday, more than a dozen students came and worked on their classwork or read from the library’s collection, dropped off and later picked up by parents after the two-hour program ended.
The students in attendance had much in common. They were almost all girls, all either Oak Orchard or Wise attendees, and got right to work, although some help was needed on equations.
“A lot of math,” Russo said
“It’s the stumper,” Brady added.
But with the additional assistance, no question should prove too daunting for Medina’s students.
The program, provided at no cost, is open to all of Medina’s students, Brady said. She’d like to see the program grow to where it has it’s own site, so that they could stage field trips and fun activities.
For now, the program runs Mondays and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.