Kiwanians sign on to help Lakeland students ‘PASS’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 14, 2002

The Kiwanis Club of Suffolk has always focused their emphasis on the youth of this city, and now they’ve partnered with Lakeland High School to improve the &uot;Standards of Learning&uot; scores of students there.

Under the banner of Gov. Warner’s Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS) program, Kiwanis will work toward the goal of enhancing the academic performance of students, and club members will act as a conduit in recruiting volunteers to assist in several others ways at Lakeland High.

The President of Suffolk Kiwanis, Eugene A. Denison, said the project is geared toward helping underachieving pupils.

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&uot;This in turn, will benefit all the school population by enhancing both the school’s and the public’s perception of the learning environment,&uot; said Denison. &uot;Assistant Principal John K. Lynn emphasized the importance of better scores in bringing better jobs to Suffolk. He stressed this in a presentation that he and Principal Thomas Whitley made to our Kiwanis Club.&uot;

Since Whitley made the presentation and Kiwanis signed on to find tutors for students at Lakeland, the school has met SOS requirements however; to help maintain that status, the Kiwanis remain committed to their project.

During his presentation, Whitley explained to the Kiwanis that the PASS program is a statewide effort to involve citizens either individually or through civic organizations in the improvement of schools that have experienced difficulty in any aspect of the SOL tests.

&uot;The program also seeks to involve parents as well as community volunteers,&uot; said Denison. &uot;In conjunction with the governor’s initiative, Kiwanis clubs throughout the Tidewater area are participating in whatever way best suits their locality. In Suffolk, Community Services Chairman Joe Garlitz is also helping to coordinating this project.

Garlitz explained that Lakeland’s staff is tutoring students after regular teaching hours, and they need assistance from volunteers proficient in three subjects.

&uot;We need people who can tutor from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., just one afternoon a week,&uot; said Garlitz. &uot;Principal Whitley is looking from retired teachers, professionals, or other individuals with skills in Algebra and Geometry, Earth Science, Biology, and Chemistry, and World History. People who volunteer could even become a classroom assistant.&uot;

Along with assisting students in learning, the schools also needs volunteers to help with clerical work, filing, and copying, said Denison. This service would free teachers to devote more time to their instructional duties, he said.

&uot;Currently, they perform these tasks during their free time periods,&uot; he said. &uot;Almost any assistant hours can be arranged, from 7:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., which are regular instructional hours. As Assistant Principal John K. Lynn said, flexibility is the keyword.&uot;

Kiwanis are known for their dedication to helping youth achieve success in life. Each year in Suffolk, they provide scholarships to each of the schools in the city, and they are the first organization to provide a $10,000 endowment to Paul D. Camp Community College. The club is currently working on a similar endowment to Tidewater Community College.

Along with helping students to learn, those who choose to study with tutors will be treated to snacks during the study time.

Kiwanis Club of Suffolk is a part of the Capital District, 21st Division of Kiwanis International. The organization’s focus on youth involves them in the club through &uot;Key Clubs,&uot; where they learn early how to help others through community services. They also reach out to youth through donating books to various organizations like Social Services, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court waiting areas, the Health Department, and the Salvation Army.

&uot;It’s just a subtle way to get books in the hands of kids,&uot; said Denison. &uot;We know some of the books get taken out of the buildings, but what better thing to take home than a book. We want them to read and if they take a book home, that’s great!&uot;

While their focus is generally on youth projects, the dedicated members of Kiwanis in Suffolk also devote a great deal of time to assisting elderly people and those afflicted with Sickle Cell Anemia.

Suffolk Kiwanis also joined other Hampton Roads Kiwanis to build the Kids Emergency Center at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Kiwanis are always looking for people who would like to help others in the community and they welcome new candidates for membership. Anyone 18 years or older with an interest in becoming a Kiwanian and helping others should join the Suffolk Kiwanis at their monthly meeting Monday at 6 p.m., at the Garden Buffet.

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Anyone who would like to help Lakeland’s students improve their performance, and those who would like to have a part in raising the level of education in Suffolk should contact the Kiwanis Club through Garlitz at 438-0907, or Denison at 934-3766. Leave a message with a phone number and they will return the call. More information about joining Kiwanis is also available by calling.