STAR House Foundation is a Roswell-based non-profit organization benefitting at-risk children that “provides educational and enrichment programs to students 100% free of charge.” I proudly support them and here is why you should too; either with volunteering your time, money or by drinking beer at the Roswell Beer Festival.
When I initially volunteered to be a tutor (or a “coach”) for STAR House it was based on a straightforward principle that every child is capable of greatness. Some just need a little more help than others. Originally, I intended on volunteering once or twice a week from September until mid-January as that is my busiest stretch at work. Once workload was reduced at the office, perhaps I’d increase to three or four days a week.
However, from Day One I witnessed how much these kids aspired to learn. My involvement more than validated my conviction that every child is capable of preeminence. They won me over. I found myself coming in all four days a week they are assigned homework (none on Fridays). I volunteer from approximately 2:45 until a little after 4:00 as the children take a recess at that time.
In my second week, I was working one-on-one with a student who chose not to go outside on what was a picture-perfect day. Admittedly I was eager return to the office to address a few projects I needed to accomplish. Also, it marks the commencing of rush hour, thus for every five minutes I delay, I can expect to arrive at my home office about 10 minutes later as traffic quickly escalates. Ten would equal 20, etc. I gently hinted and asked why (s)he didn’t want to go outside and play with the other kids on a perfect fall afternoon. The pupil explained, “If I finish my homework at home, nobody will help me.” This personifies the STAR House’s raison d’être.
Suddenly, I had no sense of urgency to leave the STAR House. I labor from home anyway, so I can just work a bit later. That poignant moment solidified that I could spare four days a week, two-hours a day (including travel time) away from the salt mines and pledge it to those kids.
I’ve heard their dreams: marine biologist, police detective, veterinarian, artist, etc. They deserve to pursue their ambitions. There is no motivation gap, just an inequality of opportunity. The young adults have promising futures but they need your help. How can you assist?
Drink beer: Yes, imbibe in high-quality craft beer at the Roswell Beer Festival. One-hundred percent of the proceeds benefit the STAR House Foundation. The list of beers is quite impressive, from the top purveyors from Georgia’s burgeoning craft brewery scene to top shelf barley pop from the nation and around the globe. Food is provided by local restaurants, including a ScoopOTP favorite Peach & the Pork Chop. Follow the festival’s Facebook page for more details.
Donate time: Volunteer to assist students with homework. If you can add and multiply fractions or listen to a child read, your efforts will prove invaluable.
Donate money, snacks, or school supplies: Anything and everything that qualifies as a school supply is indispensable. This includes age-appropriate used books for the students to read. Erasers, hand-held white boards, and counting charts are among the materials that are never too abundant.
I’ve observed from the front lines how STAR House bridges the divide. Society should not and cannot allow these youngsters to slip through the cracks. It won’t happen on my clock if I can help it. But we could use your assistance. See some of the children who benefit from this great organization on their Facebook page.
The kids at the STAR House seem fascinated with asking how old I am. Because I’m not fond of the answer (and even less pleased with their unsolicited guesses) I generally deflect the question. But I do know, for all the years I’ve been on this earth, I struggle to recall a more rewarding experience than volunteering at the STAR House. If you are considering meeting the STAR House kids, I’m obligated to warn you: they will change your life forever!