Homework Help a ‘grassroots movement to help kids’

Helping younger students and making a better community. Importantly, teenagers are leading the way. 

National Honors Students from area schools provide Homework Help at Elkhart Public Library locations. And whatever they give, they say they get more in return. 

“Tutoring is a very good resource and it’s a very grassroots movement to help kids,” says Anh Tran, 17, a Concord High School senior who volunteers at the Pierre Moran Branch

“When it comes to trying to help the community, nowadays a lot of people aren’t into helping,” he says. “That lack of effort put into (making) a more cohesive community, it makes people more isolated.” 

But for just a couple of hours a week, Ahn says he feels like he can be a part of something bigger. 

“I’ve helped a few kids and they’ve been very nice,” he says. “Without this program, there would be less community and less for kids.” 

April Zehr, one of the Concord National Honors Society advisors, says the long-time partnership between the schools and EPL helps connect vital resources for students. 

“Service is one of our NHS pillars and one of the things we really care about,” says April. “It’s valuable for all involved. I love this partnership with the Elkhart Public Library, and it’s a way to stay connected to each other.” 

At the Downtown library, Silas Hunt, a senior at Elkhart High School, says younger students get to lean on older students. That creates a less stressful environment than asking parents or teachers for the same help.  

Recently, Silas worked with a student on her algebra assignment. The girl said her mom was unfamiliar with the subject, and her teacher moved too fast for her. 

“The girl I helped, I think being another student, it’s more chill environment. It’s not a classroom,” Silas says. “… If it’s another student and they have maybe experienced that, because I knew that was fine, so I stayed over late so we could go over it slowly. 

“I think it’s a good program for people that need it.” 

April says the dynamics and bringing students together across the Concord and Elkhart districts is important, too. 

“I think kids really look up to the high school students and see them as role models. It puts them in a different relationship, and I think it’s really great,” she says. “It’s a little more unique that they can help across districts and different age groups.” 

Anh says Homework Help is just a small part of the bigger picture. 

“Tutoring isn’t just about teaching but getting (kids) to think about problem solving and how to apply those concepts to life,” he says.  

But helping is its own reward, too. 

“When you are helping, it is worthwhile,” Silas says. 

Homework Help is available from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at library branches. See the most up-to-date schedule click here.