The Star-Herald

Presque Isle Boys and Girls Club finds success with Power Hour homework program

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Boys and Girls Club has continued to see success with its daily homework assistance program, “Power Hour: Making Minutes Count,” which aims to help students get the one-on-one help they need when working on after-school assignments.

“Power Hour” is a program of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America that pairs children with “homework helpers” at their local clubs, who give them the encouragement and guidance needed to feel confident in their assignments. Each year the Presque Isle Boys and Girls Club applies for grant funding to continue the program and this past summer the organization received $8,000 from United Way of Aroostook that covers costs from July 2018 to June 2019.

“There are a lot of kids in the community who don’t have access to help with their assignments at home,” said Leanne Muriel, Power Hour coordinator for the Presque Isle club. “The program gives them a safe place outside of school to do their homework.”

Currently there are 260 children ages 6 to 18 registered as members of the Presque Isle Boys and Girls Club, with 35 to 40 taking part in Power Hour daily from 3 to 5 p.m. Power Hour offers the children incentives for completing their assignments called “club bucks,” sticker sheets that they can “cash in” every week to earn prizes.

Students who don’t have access to computers at home also can take advantage of several computers available in the Power Hour room. After Power Hour, the Boys and Girls Club staff host activities and games for all age levels as well as open gym time at the Micmac Wellness Center, which is located in the same building as the club.

Muriel stated that many children benefit from the structured setting of Power Hour, in which all Boys and Girls Club staff members receive training as tutors and often serve as mentors for the children.

“Although some kids would rather do their own thing, I think in the end they benefit from having people available here to help them,” Muriel said. “Our main goal is that all of them succeed academically.”

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, friends and regular Power Hour attendees Keirah Thompson and Seth Donais, both 9, helped each other with their math homework and mentioned what they like most about the program.

“I like that we have time after school to do homework and be with friends,” Thompson said.

Donais noted that he appreciates the chance to ask for help from the Boys and Girls Club tutors.

“There are some smart people here to help us out,” he said.

The Presque Isle Boys and Girls Club is located on 56 Micmac Drive. Although the Presque Isle branch is a Native American club, the programs are open to all children in the community. For more information about the club visit http://www.pi-bgc.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/MicmacsBGCA/.

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