Suffolk Fire Department, Station No. 40

Daily Point of Light # 1537 Dec 24, 1999

The Whaleyville Fire Station No. 40 has been a Partner in Education (P.I.E.) with Robertson Elementary Schools for just two years, starting in the fall of 1997. Partnership activities focus on promoting student achievement in math and reading by serving as tutors to students in need of academic help. These students may not have qualified for special education services, but still need an extra push to help them improve their skills in basic academic areas.

Volunteers from the fire station tutor Robertson students for an hour every Tuesday and Wednesday, barring a fire emergency. "They are like clockwork," said guidance counselor Murdley Hicks, "We can surely count on them to be there for the children. Sometimes it just takes another concerned person to tell the children how to do it. It takes a concerned community helping to develop our starts of tomorrow, our children."

The firefighters find the time they spend with the kids rewarding, stating that, "their riches come from each time we help someone, help that not only comes during emergencies, but also while being mentors during this time when children are so vulnerable."

The firefighters are also available for other school activities, such as field day, Jump Rope for Heart, and career day. They also judge various student contests and attend special programs. They provide the manpower to construct the booths for the school's annual carnival. During Fire Prevention Week, they visit each classroom to assist with fire safety instruction. Besides making an academic difference with the students they are tutoring one-to-one, the firefighters have also made an impact as career role models.