Our bi-weekly after-school tutoring club has taken place for over 8 years. Volunteers come alongside elementary-age and middle school kids to help them with their homework. We also encourage them to read by offering access to our library and having a time set aside where they read to adults and then are read to as well.
A Story of Hope: Monica Guzman and her three children Xavier, Dominic, and Sallie
Our relationship with Monica Guzman goes back several years to 2008. She was referred to us through someone in the neighborhood who told her to come to the church for help. As we got to know Monica, we learned more about the details of her life story. After leaving home at the age of 16, she lived a hard life on the streets battling drugs, domestic violence and homelessness.
Two years ago, after working hard to stabilize her life, she obtained custody of her three children, all of whom attend Robinson Elementary School down the street. She learned about our Tutoring Club after we had provided transportation resources to help her with her part time job and parenting responsibilities. Every Monday and Wednesday, her three children walk up to the FACE office after school where they receive individual educational support and encouragement. Monica joins them on Wednesdays as she helps in the church kitchen preparing dinner and then works in the church nursery during the evening programs.
Last year Monica went back to school to become a Medical Assistant and now she is motivated to find a job to support her family. She is demonstrating perseverance to her children and the importance of getting an education. Waking up early in the morning to get her children ready for school and then take the bus to her school motivated her children to work towards perfect attendance. Xavier only missed one day the entire school year! Monica has recently graduated from Parent University at Robinson Elementary and is a crossing guard through Fresno Unified School District’s Safe to School program which is a great way for her to give back to the community.
Monica was able to enroll in a Job Training Program through a referral from FACE and was also able to be part of the Love and Logic Parenting Class. Through connections to the Gang Task Force, FACE was able to arrange for Monica to do community service in exchange for having some tattoos removed. This is exciting for Monica as it represents another step towards leaving her prior life behind.
Monica appreciates knowing that she can come talk to one of the Pastors and members of the faith community to receive advice, encouragement, and motivation to keep pressing on toward her goals. She currently is serving on our food service team that cooks a hot meal for the participants in our Wednesday after-school program.