For over two decades Pontiac’s nonprofit Bound Together has taken on the mission of assisting the children of the community with their education and nutrition.
From mid-September to mid-May, the kids meet three times a week for one-hour tutoring sessions. That way, while getting help with schoolwork, “each child has three more caring adults in their lives.” Afterwards, they are rewarded with a nutritious, hot evening meal.
Tutors, on the other hand, are rewarded with 20 smiling, greeting faces.
“I just wish everyone knew the joy that comes from working with these families,” BT Executive Director, Michele Wogaman said. “You could never buy the way a kid or a tutor lights up when the other walks into the room.”
And this mutual caring didn’t go away when all programs had to close on March 11th. Wogaman received emails from volunteers at 2 a.m. expressing their concerns for the kids.
“The effects of the pandemic have fallen disproportionately hard on the families we serve,” she said. “And we worry about the kids falling behind.”
The mission of providing childcare that is accessible to all has become even more difficult in pandemic times. But Bound Together’s community has been dedicating themselves nonstop to continue to provide a safety net.
They have administered over 100 COVID tests in partnership with Pontiac’s Centro Multicultural de la Familia, they have donated over 1,000 cloth face masks “to empower families to protect their kids,” and they have become a point of service for OLSHA’s food distribution.
Pontiac families can get meals on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:30 – 2:30 PM at All Saints Episcopal Church (171 W Pike St, Pontiac).
The organization has been acquiring the technology necessary to help carry the tutoring sessions remotely this upcoming year but they need more tutors. College students are a plus.
According to Wogaman, returning families are expressing their desire to come back and the organization is doing everything they can to safely meet their needs while ensuring tutors’ health and safety at the same time.
“Tutoring a child is really an antidote to these weird, distant times the pandemic has created” she said.
Sign up to be a volunteer here.