Trinity United Methodist Church is located in the poorest census tract in Fort Wayne. 44% of children in this area live below the poverty line – more than double the rate of Indiana overall. When Executive Pastor Susan Roehs asked God how she and her church could respond to the needs of their community, she was inspired to launch a tutoring center in the church building. Trinity UMC’s team of volunteers worked through the summer and launched the program on August 11.
Through “Write 2 Read,” Trinity UMC wants to not just strengthen the basic reading and writing skills of the students who attend. The church also seeks to build relationships with the children who come into the center and help them see themselves in God’s eyes.
Pastor Roehs says, “I’ve told my volunteers that the most important thing they need to teach the kids is that they have value – that they are loved. If we do nothing more than build their confidence so that they are able to get their education outside the center, then we have done our job.”
Write 2 Read serves any student in grades K-12 who want homework help. Pastor Roehs is planning to expand the tutoring to assist with reading and writing skills. The church is also hoping to begin assisting adults in the community with literacy in the near future.
Trinity UMC received a $2,000 grant from the Bishop’s Christmas Offering in 2019, which was used to buy four computers for the center, as well as school supplies and snacks for the students.
Write 2 Read is also supported by the congregation at Trinity UMC. Although the congregants are older, as well as economically and racially different from the community around them, they help by preparing the space, purchasing items, donating money, and volunteering their time as mentors.