by Kathy Keary, Co-director of the Companion Movement
pam rena franI recently heard a piece on KCUR comparing the parks of Johnson County, KS with those of Wyandotte County, KS. Both counties are rich in parks. The author visited them on a Saturday when they were busting at the seams with children engaged in the sport of the season. The huge difference noted was in the level of the amenities and equipment offered in Johnson County as opposed to Wyandotte County where there just isn’t the same level of money flowing in. This brings to mind my experience of The Learning Club.
It is not unusual for the child of today to be involved in many pursuits: sports, instrumental music, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, scouts, church groups, and the list goes on and on. This commonplace reality in our country is not the experience of the children at The Learning Club. If it were not for The Learning Club, the majority of these children would have absolutely no other outside activities. The reason is multi-faceted. Two aspects that I witnessed was the lack of money and also the unavailability of the parents to transport their children to activities. So where are the parents? They are working 60 hours a week or more at low paying jobs just trying to put food on the table.
It broke my heart when a little girl that I was tutoring could not be in girl scouts, a healthy activity she really wanted to do, because of both of these factors. Not only could her mom not get off work to take her to sign up, but they also did not have the $10 registration fee.  It really brings home how important The Learning Club is to these children. In most instances, it is the only activity outside of school in which they participate. Not only does The Learning Club help them improve their performance in school, which will have a lasting impact on their lives and the choices they make in the future, but it puts the child in relationship with a caring adult. The tutor may be the child’s only relationship with someone who is looking out for their best interest. Some one that cares about them.
Companions Pam Demasi, Fran Norton, and Rena Tulipana attended training this week to become tutors at a new location of The Learning Club, the Cyrus K. Holliday housing project in Kansas City, KS. Thanks Pam, Fran, and Rena for being the first to seize the opportunity to become involved in a meaningful pursuit consistent with the vision of who Companions would like to be as expressed in Gather, Send. We are hoping that others Companions, members, and volunteers will join us to experience the joy found in impacting a child’s life as we serve together as the Precious Blood community. Learn more about The Learning Club by clicking here: The Learning Club