Monday February 11, 2013

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Both kids and adults who could use a little help with their education can "Get Smart" at the Guthrie Center.

Located at the old Trinity Church by the railroad tracks on Van Deusenville Road, the center is best known for its namesake, Arlo Guthrie, and for hosting community dinners and music concerts. Now, the center’s administrators want to revisit its mission of bringing individuals together for education, by offering "Get Smart at the Guthrie Center," a free, volunteer-based, year-round tutoring program for people of all ages.

"We know there are a lot of programs for tutoring out there, but we want to be able to reach people who fall outside of the loop or might not know what’s out there," said Christine Despres-Hutchinson, who is coordinating the new education program. "We want to be another place to help."

She said she hopes to do outreach to the homeless population, many of whom attend community meals at the center.

One-on-one tutoring help will be offered for children from elementary to high school ages, Tuesday through Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tutoring for adults will be offered on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m. Despres-Hutchinson said the tutors would also be parent-child combination support. All tutoring will be available and arranged by appointment.

Currently, the program includes a volunteer tutoring team of five women from South County who have more than 100 years of education and instruction experience between them.


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This includes Karen Woolis of Berkshire Learning Lab; Katinka Jaszai, a Title I teacher for Undermountain Elementary School; longtime math teacher Valerie Bluhm; adult educator Kathy Kessler and minister Kay Loudon. All tutors have also completed a CORI background check.

"The Guthrie Center is not a classroom setting," Jaszai said. "I think we can make [tutoring] fun."

George Laye, director for the center said, "For some people, getting help or learning might be intimidating. We wanted to provide something easy and comfortable. We were lucky to find hard-working, bright, competent people for doing the job of helping others."

To reach Jenn Smith:
jsmith@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6239
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink

If you go Š

What: "Get Smart at the Guthrie Center," a new, free, year-round community tutoring program for youths and adults.

Where: Guthrie Center, 2 Van Deusenville Road, Great Barrington.

When: An open house will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Tutoring begins Monday, March 4. Adult tutoring will be offered from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday. Tutoring for youths will be available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 4 to 6 p.m.

How: Tutoring is available by appointment by calling the center at (413) 528-1955 during weekday hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.