Community Club is the 50-year ministry of The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, pairing students from Washington, DC public and charter schools with adult volunteers for one-on-one mentoring. The heart of Community Club is the Study Hall tutoring program. Every Thursday night at 7:00 P.M. during the school year, the Peter Marshall Hall comes alive with the energy of over 100 7th-12th grade students and over 100 mentors (tutors) working on homework, longer-term school projects, and college applications. Each student discovers another adult in his/her life who cares enough to spend an hour each week helping him/ her succeed in school. Consistency in meeting each week fosters the growth of trusting friendships. Doing homework in a room full of other teenagers provides positive models that may exist nowhere else in a student’s experience. At 8:00 P.M. work concludes, and tutors and students hear the Club announcements, including the latest scholarship and college acceptances. As the younger students applaud the fruit of the seniors’ hard work, their own ambitions for academic success are nurtured.
Additional programs of Community Club include:
- Camp – Students and tutors spend an October weekend at Prince William Forest State Park where they bond through hikes, arts and crafts, sports, skits, and camp chores, e.g., making meals and cleaning cabins.
- Tutor Workshop – Tutors hone their tutoring skills with advice from outside speakers and fellow tutors.
- Graduation Ceremony – On the last Thursday evening each May, the church sanctuary fills as tutors, students and their families gather to award attendance and academic success and to honor our seniors.
- Scholarships – Students in the 9th through 12th grades who maintain good grades and steady attendance at Study Hall receive monthly stipends. This allows students to concentrate on their studies rather than take on part-time jobs. Qualifying graduates of the program are also eligible to receive the Club’s college scholarships. In addition, graduates of the Club frequently obtain other local college scholarships in part based on nominations or recommendations by the Club leadership.
Community Club is led by a Core Council of dedicated Club volunteers, both church members and non-members.
For more information about Community Club, including how you can volunteer, please visit www.communityclub.org.
The Gettysburg Address
On November 14, 2013, PBS Religion & Ethics invited students and tutors from The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church’s after-school tutoring program, Community Club, to recite the Gettysburg Address in honor of its 150th anniversary. The club meets at the church every week and provides dinner, academic tutoring, and mentorship to DC students ranging in age from 5 to 18. New York Avenue Presbyterian is also the church where President Lincoln rented a pew and sometimes attended services. The Gettysburg Address, described by historians as “the sacred scripture of the Civil War’s innermost spiritual meaning,” was delivered at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863. Produced and edited by Fred Yi and Missy Daniel with R&E interns Sarah Trager and Lindsey Rubinstein.