Wicomico Library’s Homework Help Center off to great start


Volunteers dedicated to the academic success of students are offering a Homework Help Center at the Wicomico County Library, and hoping to expand.

Since opening in September, it’s been operating on a shoestring budget of $1,500, a gift from Friends of the Library, and donations are being accepted.

Andrea Berstler, executive director of the library, said she asked Salisbury City Council members, at the Nov. 9 meeting, to sponsor a school supplies drive, to volunteer and to allow city employees to help, as well.

“Meeting the school supplies need is a real barrier for some students. It might be a financial problem, or the student is in transition, going from one house to another, and there’s no place for the supplies,” she said.

There might not be a quiet space to study, either, a computer or Internet access.

Many students want to succeed but can’t complete their homework because of those obstacles. “Pretty soon they just know they’re always going to be failing,” Berstler said.

“We are proving a positive atmosphere. We have one part-time person, a retired teacher, who oversees the program.  There are supplies, a work table, five computers and a color printer all here in the library, in the children’s section. We have caring adults who really want to see these kids succeed. Parents are coming in with the students. They want to see them succeed, too, but some of the parents are having the same kinds of problems. For a lot of parents, English isn’t their first language so when they bring their kids in, we’re working with them, too,” she explained.

The homework center is the only one on the Lower Shore, and has 10 or more students attending each time it’s open. Most are in the upper elementary grades, and others are in pre-kindergarten, high school and even college.

Salisbury police volunteer every weekend.

The program is modeled after one operated at the San Francisco Library, Berstler said.

The center is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

Donations can be mailed to the library at 122 South Division St., Salisbury, Md., 21801.



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