Helping Our Pupils Excel (HOPE) Tutoring Center was established in 1996 as a neighborhood outreach program of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Arlington, Texas. Local church members, neighborhood school personnel and members of the East Arlington Renewal Association (community advocates for neighborhood renewal) met together and identified the need for free tutoring services. This group was motivated because they wanted to help the children in the neighborhood. HOPE was organized and it soon became a 501(c)(3) agency. The initial steering committee consisted of members from the groups listed above and also representatives from local civic organizations, clubs, ethnic groups, churches and youth centers.
Aldersgate UMC now provides facilities with a branch at Good Shepherd UMC. A third branch has recently opened at Epworth UMC. These churches have adopted HOPE as a mission project because they also want to help the children. There is no religious education occurring during the tutoring sessions and volunteers come from across the city of Arlington.
HOPE provides free tutoring for students in the fourth through the eighth grades. After undergoing orientation, training and a criminal background check, the volunteers tutor at these sites on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:30pm and from 6:30-7:30pm. The volunteers of HOPE Tutoring Center provide one-to one or one-to-two tutoring for four hours per week at each of the centers. Many students can walk to these sites from their schools and from their homes. The centers are closed on the days that Arlington schools are closed.
HOPE is now in its fifth year of operation. The accomplishments for the 1999-2000 school year showed that 110 volunteers assisted 77 students, who received an average of 30.89 hours of tutoring for the year. Parents reported that students’ self-esteem increased, interest in school was enhanced, and grades improved because of their children’s involvement in the HOPE Tutoring Center.
According to the latest IRS information, the HOPE tutoring volunteers are worth $14.30 an hour. These volunteers gave 2,379 hours of free tutoring which is worth $34,019.70. Major funds have come from the Community Initiative Fund Grant (United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County), the Community Development Block Grant (City of Arlington), and The United Methodist Church.