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Empowering Darke County Youth
provides After School and Summer Tutoring programs
to assist students in the areas of language arts and math
with the goal of
Strong Students for a Strong Community.

Empowering Darke County Youth
We need YOU!
Fundraising • Volunteering • Donations • Snacks & Supplies
Find out how you can help:
Facebook: Empowering Darke County Youth
P.O. Box 1113, Greenville, Ohio 45331
c/o Oliver Floyd Funeral Home, 1000 N. Broadway, Greenville, Ohio 45331

Empowering Darke County Youth is a United Way Partner Agency

Please thank the United Way, our Sponsors and our Donors for their support

Diamond Sponsor
Darke County United Way
Edison State Community College  •  Greenville City Schools

Platinum Sponsors
Lydia Schaurer Memorial Trust Fund
Ketrow Foundation
Greenville Eagles 2177
Tribute Funeral Homes

Gold Sponsors
The Bistro Off Broadway  •  Kendra & Michael Chalmers  •  Rapid Printing  •  Ed Ault

Silver Sponsors
Greenville National Bank
  •  Second National Bank
Ramco Electric Motors  •  Zechar Bailey Funeral Home
Brad & Katheryn Dill  •  Rotary Club of Greenville
Dave Knapp Ford Lincoln

Bronze Sponsors
Bistro Off Broadway
  •  Al & Barbara Greiner  •  Kiwanis of Greenville
Littman Thomas Agency  •  Scott Zumbrink  •  Calm Supplies
MJS Plastics  •  Mark & Cindy Libert  •  Al & Lyn Bliss
Rolling 50s Car Club
Empowering Donors
Bob Evans Restaurant • Darryl Mehaffie • Greenville Federal Bank •
Jim & Carla Surber •
Beckie Shumaker • Eileen Litchfield • Jane Staley •
Whirlpool Corporation • CNO Reader from Book Sales •
Carline & Kenneth Lee • Families of Students being Tutored

Empowering Darke County Youth Board of Directors
Eric Fee, President
Kendra Chalmers, Vice President
Rhonda Williams, Secretary
Krista Stump, Treasurer
Bob Robinson, Program Coordinator
Board Members
Doreen Larson, Jody Harter, Melinda Thompson,
Wendy Read, Michael Chalmers, Tom Warner

Empowering Darke County Youth... About Us
Dedicated to empowering the kids in our community
By Bob Robinson, Program Coordinator
Updated November 21, 2016

A multitude of sources, including Education Week, Reading Horizons, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and more, indicate students who are unable to read at grade level by the end of third grade are more likely to become high school drop-outs. Factors such as poverty – as found in many areas of Darke County – increase this likelihood.

According to ODE, students who read at their grade level by the third grade are five times as likely to be college-bound or ready for their career employment choices. Put another way, that means those who can’t read at their grade level are five times LESS likely to reach their goals. Assuming they have any at that point. ODE further notes a full one-third of all students entering college require remedial courses in order to meet the demands of college work. This lack of basics for college-bound students does not translate well for those just trying to get through high school.

For seven years I’ve been privileged to be a founding director of the Senior Scribes Scholarship Fund, now known as the Darke County Scholarship Fund. This organization, among others, provides scholarships to talented, high-achieving young people, many of whom have been students of mine. I am proud of them and their accomplishments. These young people have mostly been high-achievers throughout their primary and secondary educational careers.  At the same time, I tutor many college students who need remedial support to meet their educational goals.

In Darke County, as many as one out of 10 students either don’t graduate on time, or end up dropping out of school. Considerable focus is now being placed on these at-risk high school students. These programs are immensely important. There also needs to be a focus, however, for intervention BEFORE a student reaches that point. A significant area of a child’s learning, self-worth and development is gained in the primary grades of kindergarten through four. This is also a time when a child who, for a variety of reasons, may not get the mentoring and support needed outside of school.

As one teacher recently put it… “If a child is having difficulty in kindergarten and isn’t helped at that point, the lack of success will build each year as the child struggles through his or her grade levels. Eventually it will become engrained. It is easier to address those needs in a child’s early years.” This teacher – and her fellow teachers – are talented and dedicated. I have substituted in the classrooms of most of them. It is literally impossible to give the one-on-one dedication some children might require in a class of 20 or more students. Schools do the best they can with limited resources. An additional support system of some kind is needed for these “at-risk” children.

I’ve been a substitute teacher working with these kids for five years. I’ve been tutoring at the primary and secondary level for the last three years. I quickly discovered the needs went beyond my ability to meet them. All of this came to light in March, to some extent due to a mother whose children I had worked with. She insisted other children receive the same help her children had received.

As a result, Empowering Darke County Youth was formed. In March I was working with eight elementary students, two more than I’d originally intended. Volunteers began working with another two. This summer, seven tutors worked with 43 students at the Greenville Library. I can’t begin to thank Director John Vehre and his staff enough for making their facility available to us.

As fall approached we knew many of these students would continue to need help. Fewer hours were available for one-on-one tutoring, and many more students would need an extra boost, help with homework or both.

Frankly, how to handle the needs of a potentially large number of students was overwhelming. As generous as the library has been, there was a concern that too many students would interfere with its operations. Fortunately, thanks to Dean Chad Beanblossom, Edison State Community College, Darke County Campus, there is a solution… the needed space is available at the Edison DCC.

An After School Program has been established to provide a place where kids can come for tutoring, mentoring, shared reading and writing, indoor games and activities and more. Currently, 59 students are enrolled. Some are tutored in the basics they need to succeed at their grade level. Many simply use the place – with help available – for their homework. Mentoring is provided for any student who needs it. Our student to adult ratio ranges from 3 to 1 to 5 to 1. Our goal is 2 to 1; volunteers are needed. The program takes place five days a week and is available to students from any district, K-12. In addition to having the space to handle this program, Edison offers another resource: its students, many of whom are going to school for elementary education. It is a win-win situation.

This program began Sept. 19. It is open to all students from all Districts, but transportation would typically be the responsibility of the care providers. We would like to thank GCSD Superintendent Doug Fries, Director of Pupil Personnel Services Andrea Townsend and the District staff for working with us to provide transportation to Edison from Woodland and East School each day. Parents are responsible for picking their children up.

It is a tremendous undertaking and will require significant resources for state-approved paid adults, volunteers, supplies, reading and writing materials and more. Empowering Darke County Youth is a community service organization. We have seated a Board of Directors to help guide the implementation of this program. Empowering Darke County Youth was designated a 501c3 non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service in September, 2016.

Our Board currently includes President Eric Fee, owner of Oliver Floyd and Braund Pope Funeral Homes, Vice President Kendra Chalmers, concerned parent, Treasurer Krista Stump, retired principal Ansonia Schools, Secretary Rhonda Williams, OSU Extension, Doreen Larson, president Edison State Community College, Jody Harter, principal Woodland Heights Primary, Melinda Thompson, Ansonia Kindergarten Teacher and Darke County co-Teacher of the Year, Wendy Read, teacher in training, Bob Robinson, Edison instructor and substitute teacher, Michael Chalmers, concerned parent and Tom Warner, local businessman and concerned parent. We are proud of the group of adults that has come together for these kids.

For a variety of reasons the needs of Darke County’s young people are tremendous. This undertaking will only be scratching the surface, but it is a start. We want – and need – your help.

For more information or to ask how you can help contact us at

Editor’s Note: This is the summary – updated – that I wrote in March to explain the concept when the Empowering Darke County Youth organization was established.

  Return to Empowering Darke County Youth News & Information... Click Here

See what Edison Student Volunteers have to say about the After School Program
... Click Here

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