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Story

She Has Kids at Heart
By Shelley Gilbert - February 9, 2009

Angelica rummaged through the books until she found just what she was looking for. Barbara saw the little girl approach with a big smile on her face, carrying the Cinderella book.

She opened it, pointing to Cinderella, and said to Barbara, "This is me, and the fairy godmother is you."

Barbara's heart melted. She praised God for giving her an opportunity to touch young lives through Kids at Heart, a tutoring and mentoring ministry for low-income and racially diverse children in grades kindergarten through 12th. It is one of the ministries of UPLIFT, a faith-based organization working in partnership with the Rock church to improve the quality of life of San Diego's inner city.

Barbara's mind drifted back to the previous years when she was so sick that she cried out to God, saying, "Why did you spare me if all I can do is lay in bed?"

As Barbara's health improved she began to go to church. One Sunday evening she saw a presentation about Kids at Heart. She heard how there was a need for volunteer tutors for children K-12. She instantly knew this was what God had spared her for.

She contacted UPLIFT to get the tutoring process started. This entailed a background check and fingerprinting before she could begin.

Finally the day came for Barbara to start. The room was large and the tables lay empty; the children had not yet arrived. As Barbara prepared her place at the table, the children began to file in. She noticed a small, shy, six-year-old girl hanging back from the others.

Angelica looked up at Barbara with doe-like brown eyes. Their gazes locked. Immediately Barbara knew Angelica was the one she would tutor.

As she says, "A little effort makes a big difference."

When she introduced herself, Barbara realized Angelica spoke very little English. They began to communicate with Barbara's limited Spanish and Angelica's limited English.

Angelica was so afraid to read or write that she would cry and go hide under the table, she was not reading at all. With much patience and encouragement from Barbara, she is now reading above her grade level. She reads with emphasis and feeling, giving each character different voices.Barbara's tutoring experience is a Godsend. This is the first job she feels truly appreciated, even though it's all volunteer. As she says, "A little effort makes a big difference."

Kid's at Heart is a faith-based, non-profit organization. Schools identify children for one-on-one tutoring. There are seven locations and ten different sessions. Kid's at Heart is always in need of tutors, new school books and donations. If you are interested, please contact UPLIFT at 619-234-4504, or go to the web site at www.upliftsandiego.org.

For More Information

UPLIFT Ministries is a faith-based, non-profit organization. It is in partnership with the Rock Church. UPLIFT stands for Urban People Living in Faith & Trust. This organization provides services for more than 300 children, teens, seniors, and the homeless in San Diego's inner city. Its programs include:

Kids at Heart: Tutors and mentors for K-12. Tutors are always needed for this ministry. You must undergo a background check and fingerprinting before becoming part of this ministry.

Senior Partners Plus: An enrichment program for elderly adults. Providing them with trips to the grocery stores, local attractions, cultural events, and luncheons.

Triple Cross: Helps with the homeless through the Alpha Project downtown. They assist the clients with identifying job opportunities and help with transportation to job interviews.

Swimming Upstream: A ten-week character development workshop for teenage girls. It focuses on self-reflection, value identification, and leadership practice.

If you are interested in any of these ministries, please contact UPLIFT at 619-234-4504, or go to the website at www.upliftsandiego.org.

For more information about the Youth Tutoring Ministry, click here »