Mildred Bennett, a retired Portland State University mathematics professor volunteers on a more than full-time basis to tutor anyone in math. Her primary emphasis is on children and youth, whom she tutors seven days a week at up to 14 different sites. She also works with college-aged students and adults lacking math proficiency. Her goal is to awaken and enhance children’s desire and tools for learning.
Ms. Bennett began working with Safehaven, a church program providing after-school services in a low-income area, in early 1994. Since then, she has expanded her tutoring to include several more sites, all of which are in largely low-income areas in North and Northeast Portland.
Her older students volunteer to help tutor the younger children and help themselves by doing so. Other community members and friends also volunteer their time with Ms. Bennett. She custom-tailors the lesson plans and games to stimulate within each participant the joy of learning math.
Ms. Bennett tutors every day of the week for the entire year, often inviting students to her home for Sunday lessons. The program is funded by personal donations, mostly done through Safehaven. Through her program, teachers have found that students in the low-income areas of North and Northeast Portland have a renewed interest in mathematics and perform better in school.