“We fix nutritious food for them every day,” said Sandra Anderson, who is a church grandma and the Coordinator for the More Hope program.
Though they spend all day at school the bright faces of the More Hope program look forward to more learning after school, including learning some valuable life lessons.
“We teach them to sit up straight and be polite,” said Anderson.
The program coordinator also shares love and comfort. “Oh Lord, yes! I get a lot of hugs, and I give a lot of hugs. Everybody wants a hug,” said Anderson.
The program was created by New Era’s First Lady, Hope Moore.
“We deal specifically with kids that are, I think IPS calls them red kids, meaning they are below grade level,” said Moore.
Moore wanted to reach the kids that the system had written off and it is paying off. Behavioral Specialist Jackie Cole, loves the personal attention she can give to the kids.
“I’m very passionate about what I do,” said Cole. “I want all kids to succeed. I want every kid to have an opportunity to receive help. I want them to see that they’re valued.”
Student Avontay Wray, his younger sister and brother have been part of the program since it began a year and a half ago.
“They tell us we have to learn from our mistakes and stuff,” said Wray. He took that instruction to heart. His last report card he made honor roll for the first time in a long time.
“It helped me a lot,” said Wray.
Enrichment is another important part of the program. Even while having fun, the students are learning. Moore says they have everything from basketball games and brain games to karate.
“It is our job to bring light, to bring hope,” said Moore. “To show these families that someone does care about them.”
“They did something to where nobody else would have did,” said Wray.
“(I want them) to be successful,” said Cole. “To feel good about themselves and to build that confidence, so that they can be a productive student and grow up to be a productive adult.”
There are 30 students in the program. In the most recent grading period, half of the students had improved their grades.
For more information on New Era and it’s outreach programs, click here.