ANN ARBOUR, Mich. – On average, students are 2.5 months behind in English and 2.6 months behind in math due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study 2021 by the Policy Analysis for California Education research center.
But this significant learning delay was not felt in the same way. Low-income students and English language learners were among the most affected, with a learning delay ranging from 2.8 to 3.8 months, according to the study.
That’s where the Family Learning Institute (FLI) of Ann Arbor comes in. Since 1999, volunteers from the nonprofit have worked to improve the literacy and math skills of Washtenaw County students in grades 2 through 5 through free weekly tutoring sessions.
On Saturday, April 23, FLI hopes to raise awareness and funds for its after-school programs with a virtual quiz night.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., quiz teams from all over can test their wits and compete for prizes from local businesses.
FLI board member Jenn Cornell Queen said the event is a good way for people with friends and family across the country to come together and connect.
Funds generated from the quiz night will be used to support free FLI tutors who meet with students and families.
“From our point of view, the need [for tutors] is there. The need is greater than it has ever been,” Cornell Queen said.
“I think every family right now can really relate to the challenges the pandemic has brought to children. And we know that the socioeconomically disadvantaged have been hit hardest. It’s just a national fact. This is not unique to this community.
Volunteers spend an hour a week working one-on-one with students in schools, online or at FLI’s South Industrial Highway center.
“This [the pandemic] hasn’t changed our delivery or our mission, but the demand has increased significantly,” Cornell Queen said.
Saturday event teams can have up to six participants. Anyone without a team will be added to a group in need of another spirit.
The top three teams will receive gift cards and other items from Ann Arbor businesses as well as trophies made by a local artist.
Trivia topics will include various genres and themes. Tickets are $50 per person or $300 for a party of six. Get tickets here.
In addition to trivia, FLI is hosting an online silent auction where attendees can bid on items donated to the Ann Arbor organization.
Items range from gift certificates and cocktail lessons to golf outings and a private four-course dinner created by Chef Brandon Johns of Grange Kitchen and Bar. Community members can even bid on a 3-night stay in Petoskey, Michigan.
The silent auction runs until April 23. Check it here.
Those who cannot attend but still want to support the organization’s mission can donate online.
Volunteering as a tutor is another way to help. While it may seem daunting, Cornell Queen said no special skills were needed and FLI was in dire need of volunteers.
“Don’t feel like you don’t have the skills to do it,” she says. “If you can read, you have the skills to do so and to help.”
Interested? Apply online through the FLI website.
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