After 19 years as a Houston Independent School District math teacher, Kendra Franklin retired. She didn’t, however, give up teaching young people the math skills they need to know.
Instead, she focused on volunteering her time with young people in the Houston community who struggle with basic skills – ones who will benefit from one-on-one instruction. Franklin found her new teaching home in Almighty Ministries, Inc.
“I felt like I could help and encourage these children,” she said. “Many of them don’t have a good understanding of fractions or their multiplication tables. They simply lack many of fundamental skills they’ll need to be successful in life.”
Almighty Ministries opened in 1991 as an effort to reach at-risk youth living in a Southwest Houston apartment complex. Today, it serves young people throughout the community, giving them the skills they’ll need to be responsible, productive adults. Franklin works in its Back to Basics program. Here, youths who can’t afford academic help receive one-on-one tutoring, homework assistance, and standardized test preparation.
Franklin first volunteered on Jan. 13, 2013. She’s there every Tuesday for one-to-two hours, totaling 79 hours to-date. During these individual sessions, she focuses on math’s bedrock algorithms and concepts.
To date, she’s tutored between 20-25 students. She credits her straight-forward teaching style with helping students grasp difficult mathematical concepts. To help students understand, she relates math to something children can identify with from everyday life. She uses her background in special education to break down each math element into simple steps and explain why algorithms and rules work as they do.
It’s rewarding, she said, to see the light bulb flicker in a child’s mind when he or she finally grasps a concept that’s been elusive. Many times, students have returned to tell her, proudly, how they performed on a school exam or the state standardized test.
Franklin said she plans to continue her volunteer service because many children need that extra push, and mastering math skills improves their self-esteem.
“The children need help to be successful,” she said. “If I can give them that foundation, then, they can be successful in the future. And, I get the fulfillment of being part of their future, as well.”
If you’re interested in finding opportunities to engage in your community through service, please check out All for Good for projects near you!