Creating change, one child at a time

Big change often starts small, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to tutoring. The decision to volunteer your time each week can change a child’s life, and your own.

“Just knowing in that 30 minutes, I’m actually helping someone grow. You make a little progress every time, and by the end of the year it makes a big difference,” said Jalen Gilmore, a volunteer with Heart Math Tutoring. “I’m just happy that I am helping to make that difference.”

Tutors with Augustine Literacy Project – Charlotte (ALP), Heart Math Tutoring, and Helps Education Fund often cite this ability to create change, one child at a time, as their favorite part of volunteering their time as a tutor.

“There’s no greater feeling than knowing that I have made a difference, even if it’s a small difference, in that child’s life,” said Crystal Stroupe, a Heart tutor.

Mary Bowman echoed that sentiment in describing her work as a tutor with Helps Education Fund. 

“Reading is like a key to a door. It’s so important. It’s so powerful,” she said. “That alone, in every way, creates a change in life.”

Volunteers have the desire to create change in our community, and these tutoring organizations provide them with the tools and a clear path to doing so.

“I had the tools to help Will and other students like him, and it was very gratifying to know that I could help,” said Cynthia Buck, an Augustine Literacy Project tutor, describing her experience with a student she tutored. “I couldn’t before, but I learned how to help. I had the tools to do it.”

ALP, Heart Math Tutoring, and Helps Education Fund are all a part of Tutor Charlotte, along with the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and Read Charlotte. The community initiative was born out of a need to help connect volunteers with effective tutoring organizations in the Charlotte area. More volunteer tutors are needed than ever before, as helping our children recover from the impact of the pandemic on their learning will take the work of our whole community. 

No teaching or tutoring experience is required to volunteer with any of the three organizations, as training is provided. Volunteers are accepted throughout the school year, and in-person and virtual tutoring options are available. Heart Math Tutoring and Helps require a time commitment of one hour per week, and ALP requires two hours per week. 

“For the amount of input you put in every week, the output of growth in these students is exponential,” Gilmore said. “That really means a lot to me. These kids actually do look up to you as role models, and they’re excited to see you every week. Even though you’re just spending 30 minutes with each student, it does play a large role in their lives and you can see it.”

For many tutors, the experience is rewarding enough that they return year after year.

“A lot of the tutors have come back year after year, I think because they know it works,” Buck said. “And it’s just very gratifying to know that you are making a difference in someone’s life.”

Visit to learn more about each organization, and to sign up to get started as a tutor!

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