Help needed for struggling students

Help needed for struggling students

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Westfield Park principal Steve Soames, Member for Armadale and school board member Tony Buti, student James Beck, Achievers Club WA mentors Georgia Fennessy, Danny McEvoy and Jim Sharp and student Blossom Win. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

A not-for-profit organisation that helps give students from low socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to be the best they can be is currently on the lookout for more mentors for an Armadale-based pilot program. 

Achievers Club WA has previously provided out-of-school mentoring and tuition to a number of students in the northern suburbs of Perth.

However, they are switching their focus to the southern corridor. 

Founder and president Danny McEvoy said the group had grown from one mentor with one child six or seven years ago to today where they have about 50 mentors, 33 children and a waiting list. 

As of term two, Mr McEvoy, together with Armadale sector coordinator and mentor Jim Sharp, will work with 10 students from years five and six from Westfield Park Primary and Grovelands Primary. 

Mr Sharp said each of the mentors work one-on-one with the students every Saturday morning to improve their mathematics and English knowledge. 

“We sit down and set goals with the kids and that includes improving their grades,” he said.

“We also work with them to boost their confidence because a lot of the kids are really shy and often sit at the back of the class, not confident enough to raise their hands or say to the teacher they aren’t keeping up. 

“We try to make it fun so there is a bit of a social side to it so they can see that there is a fun side to learning.” 

Mr McEvoy said the mentors also help with social issues that the students may be experiencing. 

“We had one little kid come to us who was walking on his toes,” he said. 

“About six weeks into the sessions I asked his mother to come in and I said ‘have you noticed he walks on his toes?’ and she said he had been doing it since he had started walking.

“She told me they went to the doctor four years ago and they said just wait for a while but she wasn’t comfortable talking to doctors and specialists because of her English. 

“One of our mentors went with her to talk to the specialist and since then the child has had a massive operation and now he is walking well.” 

The group is welcoming new mentors to help out with the pilot program.

For more information visit the Achievers Club WA website.