The Star-Herald

United Way grants funds to support the Boys & Girls Club homework assistance program

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — In response to the call for more effective homework assistance programs for low-income youth, United Way of Aroostook has chosen to grant the Boys & Girls Club of Presque Isle to support the continued implementation of Power Hour.

This highly successful homework assistance program, implemented by the Boys & Girls Club of Presque Isle, helps young people come to view homework as an opportunity to learn to work independently, complete projects on time and feel positive about their accomplishments.

“We are grateful to the United Way of Aroostook for enabling us to continue utilizing such a high-quality homework assistance program like Power Hour,” Fenton Jones, Club Coordinator of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Presque Isle “So many of the children we serve simply do not have access to the resources necessary for successful homework completion, which is critical to their everyday academic success.”

Power Hour: Making Minutes Count is an interactive, after-school homework assistance program for children ages 6 to 18. Unlike assignments done in class, Power Hour work is conducted in a non-threatening and fun after-school environment using adults or older students, who serve as “Homework Helpers,” to supervise completion of Club members’ homework.

In addition to homework help, these staff or volunteers offer age-appropriate activities to stimulate Club members’ interest in learning. By explaining the relevance of learning fractions in order to cook a meal, for example, or by showing how geography can enable us to enjoy reading the newspaper, volunteers help Club members learn to value the knowledge homework can bring. Power Hour’s long-term goals are to ensure that youth graduate from high school, pursue a postsecondary education and become lifelong learners.

“United Way of Aroostook is thrilled to be supporting the amazing work being done by The Boys and Girls Club of Presque Isle.  This program provides so many benefits to students including a sense of belonging, improving social skills, and building confidence all in addition to providing a safe place to receive academic support” said Sherry Locke, Executive Director of United Way of Aroostook.

In addition to “Homework Helpers,” Power Hour offers tips for establishing essential communication with teachers and parents. Research has shown that parental involvement is a must if children are to develop good homework habits. Power Hour also provides incentives for Club members, rewarding them with “Power Points” and charting their academic progress on a colorful poster displayed prominently in the Club.

Among the available research on the importance of after-school homework assistance is a recent study conducted by the U.S. Justice and Education Departments. In Working for Children: Safe and Smart After-School Programs (2000), experts reported, “children who are left alone when school ends have more difficulties with their class work than those who participate in after-school programs. Not only is the latter group of students more likely to succeed academically, they are also much more self-confident.” Other studies have linked after-school homework assistance programs to improved behavior at school and an overall increased interest in learning.

“We are pleased to be recipient of United Way funding to increase our academic impact. Tutoring strengthens subject comprehension, boosts confidence & builds important learning skills. Students are able to obtain individualized attention they may not receive in a crowded classroom. Without this funding the Boys & Girls Club of Presque Isle would not be able to serve those in the community who need us most” said Nichole Francis, CEO of the Penobscot Boys & Girls Club.

If you are interested in learning more about the Boys & Girls Club of Presque Isle, staff strongly encourages you to visit their website @

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