At 315 Allis Street in Jonesboro, volunteers dedicate their Tuesday afternoons to providing after-school assistance to neighborhood children. They offer homework help, but also touch on skills that stretch beyond the classroom.
“We’re actually teaching kids how to write, how to spell, how to correct themselves…how to sit at a table.” explains Revered Dr. Charles Coleman, who represents Fisher Street Community in Action. “Just common things that you wouldn’t think in 2018 that we have to do. But guess what. We have to do it, because they just don’t know.”
Neighborhood Stars is the organization behind the sessions. They are offered in a building that previously served as a storage house.
“We had to have sheet rock redone on the inside of it. We did electricity on the inside of it. Then we added on a bathroom and a storage closet,” says Debbie Johnson, who is Neighborhood Stars’ organizer.
Beside the building, is the neighborhood vegetable garden. It is a community Garden that features cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and more, all grown and tended to by volunteers. Every Wednesday from 5-7pm, it’s open for the entire community to have their pick.
Debbie Johnson is the driving force behind Neighborhood Stars. She believes classes and all other neighborhood initiatives give the area a much-needed boost.
“I grew up in this neighborhood. And while I don’t live in this neighborhood now, I want to see it go back to being a safe neighborhood for kids when I was a kid,” Johnson says.
Neighborhood Stars’ after school program is quickly picking up steam. An eight-thousand-dollar grant made it possible for volunteers to offer computer science lessons.
“We would just like all the kids in the neighborhood to know that they’re more than welcome to attend. Anytime they want to. We start at 3:30, and we go on until about 5,” Johnson adds.
Neighborhood Stars is a brainchild project of Fisher Street Community in Action.