People Serving People seeking tutors for homeless students

MINNEAPOLIS -- "Naomi, would you like to be a weather person?" Nichole Siedow guides her pre-school students through their morning meeting.

They are a wiggly bunch, and Siedow finds a way to manage their energy and engage them in early reading skills and other tasks necessary to prepare them for kindergarten.

One thing Siedow won't be able to do is track their long term progress. Some of these students will be gone in a few days. Few will last more than a month.

This is the pre-school program atPeople Serving People , a Minneapolis homeless shelter.

"We have a very sophisticated early childhood development program," said CEO Daniel Gumnit. So much so, the program earned the highest rating from Parent Aware, a statewide initiative to identify quality early childhood learning programs.

"It's quite an honor to be able to get that rating in a homeless shelter," said Gumnit.

The backbone of People Serving People's program for K-12 students is tutors. An average of 17 tutors join students at People Serving people every night during the school year.

The shelter serves 70-75 students weekly, meaning more tutors are always welcome.

Gumnit says those contacts are important. He points to studies that show tutoring can increase the chances a low-income student will pass their core classes and graduate by as much as 25-percent.

"We're talking about elementary school math here, elementary school reading and writing," said Gumnit. "You don't have to be a professor to be an effective tutor."

In addition to tutors, People Serving People also needs classroom supplies, including calculators, iPads, bean bag chairs, wall maps, fraction dice and other instructional tools.

For more information, contact David Kaplan at


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