A local organization is partnering with the Longview Public Library to help bridge the gap for area students.

Community partners with library for student tutoring

Mon Aug 8, 2016

A local organization is partnering with the Longview Public Library to help bridge the gap for area students.

Tutoring Tuesdays

Brandis Jamerson, Coordinator for Survivors Aligned in Sisterhood Support and Insight (SASSI), said "Tutoring Tuesdays" is an effort to bolster student academic performance, at no cost to their families, in the hopes helping them be successful in life.

Led by library staff and SASSI volunteers with teaching expertise, Jamerson said the program is in need of support and participation from the public.

"We are asking volunteers to consider spending an hour or two of their time, one Tuesday out of the month," she said.

Jennifer Eldridge, Youth Services Supervisor, said the impetus for this program started a year ago, after attending the International Literacy Association conference in St. Louis.

"This conference is mainly geared towards teachers, but I was hoping to get some insight on our weekly story times," she said. "My duty as a children's librarian was to think like a teacher. Librarians and teachers have the same goal: literacy for all! However, our executions can be very different."

While sitting in on various presentations, Eldridge said she noticed that "all the teachers seemed to be saying there isn't enough hours in the day to help all the kids that seem to be struggling."

"This struck a cord with me because I recalled needing after school tutoring when I was in the third grade," she said. "I was thinking back on that experience when my father would take me to this sweet lady's house, where we sat at her long dining table and she always had a cup of juice sitting there waiting for me. This lady spent months with me helping me to grasp all the things I could not for some reason at school. By the end of the third grade I was doing great in all my subjects!"

Eldridge said she is grateful her father was able to provide a means to get this extra help, and that it helped her realize not everyone has this opportunity in their lives.

"I asked myself what I could do to help struggling students and teachers with their time deficit, and last September we launched Tutoring Tuesdays," she said, adding that the primary need for the program is volunteers.

That's where Brandis Jamerson, and SASSI, came in.

"We are a women's empowerment organization that was founded in July 2014. Our platform is to encourage women of all ages to respect one another, acknowledge their personal strengths, and to thrive in their purpose to assist the community," she said. "As an organization, we want to present exciting opportunities for the women of Longview to connect through fellowship."

The acronym SASSI stands for Survivors Aligned in Sisterhood Support and Insight, Jamerson explained.

"As women, we have a natural instinct to survive. Throughout history, women have gone through a variety of lengths to do what was necessary to protect and provide for themselves and their families," she said. "As a sisterhood, we are linked by a common interest of promoting growth within ourselves, our families, and our community. We show our support to one another by sharing insight in the form of testimonials, valuable resource information, and by being a positive example to those we come in contact with.

Jamerson, who also works for Longview ISD as a middle school science teacher, said the group wants to help empower women to encourage themselves and others.

"Our goal is to join together to create a ripple effect of optimism throughout the community through action," she said.

For more information about the Tutoring Tuesdays program or SASSI Longview, please email Brandis Jamerson at sassilongview@gmail.com and call Jennifer Eldridge (903) 237-1027.