ABC’S In The D End of Year Recap

The 2012/2013 tutoring session in Detroit is over. We had our end of year party two Saturdays ago. Yes, I am very current, I know. I also realize that I have never told you about the BSF Leaders Retreat in Cincinnati from March FIRST. Quick Draw McGraw is apparently not my name.

This was my first end of year party. I missed the carpool last season, and not because I was late. Well I was sort of late, because they changed the time to a half hour earlier and I did not get the memo. I was ever so sad because my girl Ja’Shayla was actually there after missing several weeks. She did not return to tutoring this year because she moved out of the area, another cause for extreme sadness. Did I ever mention that she had already moved 6 or 7 times during our October to March tutoring session? I loved that little girl. With her moving history, I just keep hoping she will move back into the area.

Anyway, back to this seasons party. They had a kids magician, who was all about the laughs. The children LOVED him! He was able to get quite a few of them to participate. The building was FREEZING cold that day, no heat. The first time I met my guy we had moved to the other building that we sometimes use when there is a conflict with our usual building. That day we roasted! Detroit Tutoring, a hot or cold experience!

Here is my buddy Tavion! Sweetest little pumpkin ever! We had to fill out certificates of attendance and they asked us for attributes. All I could think of was precious, sweetie, angel-baby, huggable, probably not what an 8 year old boy wants on his certificate. I settled for fun loving and energetic. I still regret not slipping a precious in between those manlier words!

He is wearing what he called his Detroit Lions coat. He loves football, and all we have are the Lions. Bless his precious little heart.

The tutor parents were invited for the festivities and to share a pizza lunch with dessert. Both of Tavion’s parents came to our little gathering. I had met his Dad, but not his Mom. They were very appreciative of the program. I was very appreciative of them sending their darling boy.

Here is The Ab-Cat with her buddy Anthony, who is also a Honey Bear, sweetheart. She had lunch with him and his Grandmother.

Mousey had to drop out of the program last month because of her job schedule, but Ab and I covered for her and took her girl when our kids weren’t there. Funny how that all works out.

Which brings me to the next thought. The team that coordinates the program naturally want feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. They also like to know if the tutors will be returning in the fall. Ab and I, along with the other ladies that usually ride in our carpool, have discussed this. At length.

On paper, this program is a dream come true. You are assigned a child that needs some academic help.(Although Mousey’s  fourth grade girl Dolcia was a little smartie and Mousey told us that she was afraid Dolcia was smarter than her!! She eventually started teaching her algebra, and finally challenged her.)  The academics are important, but the instructors tell us that the relationship is just as important. So far, so good. I can do those things.

The motto for ABC’s in the D is Flex and Obey, because there has to be a lot of flexibility. The program is every week, but the tutors only go every other. We have partners that we share the tutee with. We are supposed to fill in when our partner is not available, which is not a big problem for us, but can be annoying when you make the effort and the child is not there anyway.

And then there is attendance. Tutee attendance. This can be a big problem. Some kids are there, rain or shine, week in and week out. Many children received attendance awards, but many are erratic and there is not anything that can be done about it. Add to that, the kids come in vans in different shifts. Some come super late, as Ja’Shayla did last year. She was always in the last van and sometimes we only had 35 minutes to work as opposed to an hour and a half. That’s a little hectic! I say this because it was the rule, not the exception.

Some kids are hit or miss, sometimes there are long stretches of no attendance, then they return regularly like there was never an absence. You never know from week to week. Last year, I mostly ended up without a child on the days Ja’Shayla didn’t come. Because she was always late, I was reluctant to take another tutor-less child when I didn’t know yet if she would be there. So that was frustrating to go home after a morning of not seeing her at all.

When I started this session I had a different boy. He was a big challenge because he really needed academic help, and he had no interest in being helped. He also had zero interest in having a relationship with his tutor. He was only there to play basketball the last half hour. The other 5 kids who lived in his house also came, and they all received attendance awards. I was able to speak face to face with other tutor I shared him with at the end of year party. He had stayed with him all season, but I could tell by the way they interacted, and the tutors e-mails, they had not had a good year.

After I was switched from that boy, he was paired with a basketball loving teen boy, and I was paired with Tavion. We got along like a house on fire immediately, which was good, because my partner had the same experience with him 2 more times and then he was inexplicably out for about 5 weeks. He made a comeback when I was in Florida and Abby took him that day. But that one day was all it took for God to incline my heart towards his. I will always remember him. I hope to have him again next year.

All these many words to say this, God has a plan for our lives. For the tutors and for the tutees. We have no idea how our kids will change us, or how we will help them.

Is hard to have a disinterested, regularly attending child when there is no relationship. It is hard when there is a relationship, and their attendance is erratic. It is frustrating to set aside the morning and look forward to seeing your child and then they don’t come for 5 weeks in a row. But when it works, it’s wonderful! And that, we feel, is what keeps us coming back to ABS’s In the D for another season of flexing and obeying.



  1. Laurie said,

    April 1, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    I think that is a wonderful thing you are doing. And the impact it can make on lives, your and theirs, is tremendous. Keep up the good work.

  2. caprilis said,

    April 2, 2013 at 4:13 AM

    Ditto what Laurie said. 🙂

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