Columbia, S.C., Sept. 21, 2004 - Imagine the feeling of pride a child has when finally mastering multiplication or division for the first time, or the sense of accomplishment after spelling a difficult vocabulary word and understanding its meaning. The delight in her eyes or the smile on his face is worth a thousand words. At the SCE&G Homework Centers across South Carolina, moments like these are the reason that the program was created and has continued into its twelfth year of operation.
Since 1992, SCE&G has provided funding and direction for this after-hours, school-based learning program in communities across the electric and gas utility's service territory. Thousands of children have benefited from the program, receiving additional instruction and reinforcement from their own teachers in a supervised, structured environment.
Studies of the program's results show that last year 31 percent of students participating improved their reading scores by at least one letter grade; 22 percent improved likewise with math scores. Seventy percent of students maintained or improved math scores within a letter grade while 62 percent did so with their reading grades.
In Walterboro, Alice Williams has seen this kind of improvement firsthand since her daughter Parris began attending the SCE&G Homework Center at Northside Elementary two years ago. "She enjoys the program and it's really improved her math grades," says Williams, who works while continuing her own education.
Parris, a fourth-grader, says she likes how Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Holmes help her with math that she doesn't understand. "And I make good grades now in math!" she beams. "They help me with any schoolwork I need to do."
With four boys in Northside's Homework Center over the last three years, Kelly Stachewicz says she doesn't know what she would have done without the teachers at the center. Christopher, now in middle school, twins Robert and William in fourth grade, and third-grader Adam have all benefited from the program.
"I'm a mother of four, but I'm no teacher!" jokes Stachewicz. "The extra help at the Homework Center has done my children a world of good and improved their self-esteem in the classroom."
Northside's SCE&G Homework Center manager Margie Edwards believes the program makes a huge difference for the 34 students participating this year. "We've gotten good results – many Homework Center students begin making honor roll or earning "student of the month" recognition," she says. "And working parents appreciate the help we provide their children with homework."
According to Norvell Pettus, SCE&G Homework Center director, SCE&G began funding Homework Centers to meet an increased demand for quality after-school programs and to make a difference through the company's commitment to public education. "The homework center program is a way for SCE&G to support the communities it serves while filling a void in the midst of federal and state budget cuts for after-school programs," she explained.
Fortunately, SCE&G's Homework Center program continues to grow. "We're particularly excited about our program because we've increased our commitment to education by adding even more centers this year and helping more kids achieve scholastic success," said Robin Montgomery, Public Affairs Manager for SCANA, the parent company of SCE&G.
In South Carolina, 21 deserving schools are hosting SCE&G Homework Centers in the 2004-2005 school year, in addition to 12 SCANA Homework Centers in North Carolina and Georgia. SCE&G Homework Center hours are typically two hours, three days a week. SCE&G covers the cost of two teachers, snacks and incentive prizes for approximately 25 to 30 elementary school children. School selection is made by recommendations from the SC Department of Education and the SC Chamber of Commerce High Performance Partnerships based on demographics and student test scores.
For more information about SCE&G's Homework Center program, call
(803) 217-9944 or go to www.sceg.com.