Aux Sable Middle School eighth-graders Natalie Sipes and Riley Mulcahy recently launched their own tutoring program to help “Blue House” students who are struggling with their subjects. The academically gifted girls are also helping feed District 202 students in need by donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the Creekside Cares backpack program.
For $10 an hour, students (eighth grade and younger) can get help in subjects ranging from history to science, math and English. The girls are available for tutoring in math classes all the way up to algebra 1 and language arts class up to freshman level.
Dubbed Tutoring for Creekside, the program serves Blue House schools Charles Reed, Meadow View, Ridge, Thomas Jefferson and Wesmere elementaries, plus Aux Sable and Drauden Point middle schools.
The girls said they decided to put their scholastic skills to good use at the start of this school year.
“We were always interested in tutoring, but that would have brought in a lot of money that we didn’t need,” Riley said. So the eighth-graders started researching charities to find one that would be a good benefactor.
“We decided a local charity would be better,” rather than donating to a larger organization, Natalie said.
The girls learned about Creekside Cares, launched in 2010 by Creekside Elementary PE teacher Jeff Peterson.
The effort initially served only Creekside students, with the goal of ensuring that youngsters whose families were struggling financially would have healthy snacks to sustain them over the weekend. Since then, Creekside Cares has grown into a non-profit organization serving students across District 202.
Each week, students who are enrolled in the program get a backpack of non-perishable food — from peanut butter to granola bars — on Friday. They return their backpacks on Monday to be refilled for the following weekend. The program also distributes food during the summer.
“We thought it was really cool,” Riley said. “I have some friends who don’t get as much as other friends, and we know that Creekside [Cares] tries to help kids like that.”
“This is so awesome,” Peterson said in an email in response to learning about the girls’ efforts. “I am so humbled to have such caring, compassionate community members and fellow District 202 students giving of their time to support Creekside Cares. We are trying to end hunger one backpack at a time, but we could not do it without the generosity of these two girls, Natalie and Riley. Kudos to them for their efforts. They are making a difference in the community.”
Natalie and Riley have also set up a website for Tutoring for Creekside. Click to learn more or to set up a tutoring session.