A story of how one tutor uses his passion to help students reach for the stars
If you drive by Center of Hope after dark, you may see two people in the parking lot mapping out the stars. One is a tutor with a passion to help others, while the other is a student working on his GED. The student came to Center of Hope several years ago dealing with drug addiction, self-harming behavior, and low self-esteem. Passing the math portion of the GED was the only thing keeping him from earning his high school diploma.
The tutor is Doug Cook, a Center of Hope volunteer of 5 years, who finds creative and inspiring ways to engage students to help them achieve their goals. Knowing that this particular student had a scientific interest in the stars, Doug helped the student to build his own equipment, including an equatorial mount to follow the equator. On dark, clear nights, he taught the student how to map and track different stars.
Doug is one of 25 tutors who teach at Center of Hope in the Adult Education program. This program is unique because the one-on-one instruction offers a level of personal attention that isn’t available in a classroom setting. This personalized attention identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses and allows the tutor to create a tailored learning plan to help achieve success. In the last year, the Adult Education program, which consists of basic literacy, high school equivalency, English as a second language, and citizenship, held 1,474 sessions.
Doug’s creative teaching efforts do not go unnoticed. Just last month, he was recognized on a national scale by ProLiteracy, a leading resource and champion for adult education and literacy. When asked what he has learned about himself teaching adult learners at Center of Hope, he stated, “ My love of passion! Being passion-ate is exciting to yourself and others and is a basic ingredient in a fulfilled life.” And when asked how to keep students motivated, he replied, “Listen, be kind, and care. Oh! Don’t forget. Have some fun!”