D.K. Richardson was sick of hearing about failing black students in her community.
This problem prompted the retired teacher to start the Prayer Temple FCAT, Reading, Homework and Bicycle Club.
“So many children were not passing the FCAT. The children don’t read,” said Richardson.
The organization was founded in 2007 to teach basic concepts at various levels and help students acquire essential skills. It partners with the Budding Scholars organization, which was created by Juanita Gaston.
“When Dr. Gaston brought the idea of a tutoring program to the church, I loved it,” said Richardson.
Every Monday students, tutors and the organization’s leaders gather in the sanctuary of Prayer Temple Church of God in Christ on Saxon St.
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is the state’s standardized test used to measure the skill level of students in public and private schools. Richardson said she believes the use of hands-on learning activities, graphs and other visual aids help to stimulate the children.
Halloween is quickly approaching and Richardson wants to keep the children interested in learning. She uses skeletons to lure the children into the material. They were able to have fun and acquire new information.
“I try to associate the material to whatever is going on in their lives,” said Richardson.
The program is funded by the city through United Way, but it is not enough to carry them through the entire school year, Richardson said.
The club has received help from members of the community to help with the students. Members of the church and Florida A&M students volunteer as tutors to help the students.
Chandra Wilcox, a pharmacist and a third-year tutor for the organization, works hard with the students to help them learn.
“The kids need help,” said Wilcox. “They just aren’t getting it in school.”
Volunteers are always welcome to join the organization. Students majoring in all fields are encouraged to apply.
“Volunteering is most beneficial for education majors, because they receive hands on experience,” said Gaston, who is the tutor coordinator.
To become a tutor or make donations, call Richardson 850-576-6976 or Juanita Gaston 850-412-7545.