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Grant and Shannon’s Mission Year Newsletter for April

Education Struggles in Peoplestown

By Shannon Jenks

As a teacher by profession, the education of my neighborhood has been especially interesting to me. The kids in Peoplestown begin their education at D.H. Stanton Elementary here in the neighborhood, move on to Parks Middle School in the next neighborhood over and finally end across the train tracks to the Schools at Carver. There are few in my neighborhood who have completed high school. In this economy, finding a job that can support a family with only that amount of education is next to impossible. Despite this the dropout rate at Carver is still high. Teen pregnancy, jail and drugs are all too common causes of this.

I work at the after school program at Emmaus House in the hope that my influence might encourage the neighborhood kids to see education as a way out of their situation. A few of the students have incredible potential and are excelling in school. A few aren’t. One such student is a young man named J. J is in 5 th grade. He’s supposed to be in 6 th . He reads at about a 3 rd grade level. He spells at a Kindergarten level. Even though he’s behind in Language arts, he’s pretty good at math, although he struggles with memorizing the multiplication and division facts. He love’s science and can tell you anything you want to know about volcanoes. J has dyslexia. Since I am the only tutor with actual teaching experience, I work with J on his reading and spelling with some supplemental work.

As I’ve worked with J I have run into some incredibly frustrating roadblocks along the way. He never brings home homework. He says he doesn’t have any but I know better. I’ve spent a large amount of time trying to contact his teacher, with his mom’s permission. Despite the amount of questions I email her regarding how I can help, her response is short and vague. I’ve walked down to the school and left notes in her mail box asking her if I can simply pick up his homework at the end of the day with no response. She finally emailed me saying that his special education teacher is the one who gives him homework even though I know she’s responsible for half of his grades. I’m convinced that she’s given up on him.

The odds for J to succeed in school are already low due to the issues and hardships our neighborhood. With his learning disability the odds are even lower.  How many J’s must there be in the world? What can we do help them?

Praises & Requests

  • We have entered the third trimester of our year. Pray for a strong finish as we continue our work building relationships and reaching for goals.
  • With the end of our year on the horizon pray for direction.
  • Shannon has applied for several teaching positions in the California Bay Area. We hope that she can find a job!

How to Make a Donation

You may either use the enclosed envelope or you can donate securely online. Whenever you make a donation, be sure to include our Team Member Name and Support ID Number. Those are:

  • Team Member Name: Grant and Shannon Jenks
  • Support ID Number: 11-9031

Visit in your web browser to make a donation online. Make checks payable to “Mission Year” and include our Support ID Number in the memo line. Donations are tax deductible.

robo club demo day lab

Terrance, Jaquan, and Terriyonna watch a grad student’s presentation of his research. We saw demos from six different labs over the course of the day. This one focused on human-machine interaction for mechanically assisted auto assembly.

robo club demo day group

A group picture of our Robotics club at GA Tech’s demo day! From left to right: Terriyonna, Terence, Jaquan, Bax, and myself. Bax is the group’s leader and will carry it on after July.

robo club demo day car

Over three hundred school children came together at GA Tech to catch a glimpse of cutting-edge, million-dollar research. Pictured at the left edge of the photo is a prototype autonomous vehicle.

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Emmaus House afforded us an opportunity to dress up with its annual gala. The theme of the evening was a luxury cruise ship and Josh, in his captain suit, welcomed people at the door.

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