Free tutoring service needs your help to continue educating children living in poverty

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's hard enough for kids to learn on a computer while at home with help from their parents.

So can you imagine what it's like for those kids whose parents have to leave home for work?

Lori Easterlin has and told ABC 11, "The children that we tutor, a lot of their parents are essential workers. They can't be at home because they're doing really important things to keep that family going."

Easterlin is the executive director of the non-profit Augustine Literacy Project of the Triangle.

It trains tutors who then provide free services to children in need.

Tutors in the project have had to pivot to online teaching during the pandemic.

The free service has always been a vital lifeline for families who can't afford to hire tutors.

"Not only do we have children who always need our services, but now we've got more that need to be caught up from this year," Easterlin said, "And so that's why it's the most challenging year anyone will ever have, but it's also the demand for our services is greater than ever, and we are passionate about making it happen for these children."

Easterlin recently realized not only asking tutors to volunteer their time but to pony up $300 for training meant they weren't getting diverse applicants.

"We want children tutored by adults who look like them. That is only fair," she said adding, "And in order to do that we need to diversify and include people ... regardless of ethnicity, regardless of race, sexual orientation, complete non-discrimination. We want to build our tutor base with a very inclusive group."

That's why the project is no longer charging the training fee.

But once that decision was made, the group had to figure out a way to make up the $25,000 difference.

Fortunately, a benefactor agreed to put up half of the $25,000, if the literacy project could raise the rest by October 1.

"Opening this up and raising money to pay for all the tutoring for everyone, is why we went to our first peer-to-peer fundraiser ever."

That online fundraising effort is about a third of the way there but could use your donation.

Even a few dollars can help the Augustine Literacy Project of the Triangle with its worthy cause of helping pull children out of poverty through education.
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