It starts with O N E...
Learning Links of Fairport was created after Fairport United Methodist Church (FUMC), through Catholic Family Services, sponsored one refugee family from Kenya who emigrated to the U.S. under the approval of President George W. Bush. That's what began our story-- as one good thing begets the next...so here are the details:
Pastor John McNeill, FUMC was inspired to reach out and support the families here in Fairport, not in downtown Rochester but locally in community living at The Pines of Perinton. Initially hosting the new family in her home for a number of weeks, FUMC member Kate Thon saw the need to support the children of the African families and other foreign-born children coming to the U.S. in their schooling.
Thon and McNeill worked together to start a ‘homework help’ program for these multi-cultural kids in Fairport schools, on the Pines' grounds. With the approval and support from Len Statham of Partners In Community Development (PICD), the program began in January 2009 with 5 students. This is how Learning Links (LL) started.
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Maintaining our 1:1 student-tutor ratio on Tuesday nights, with generous assistance from Exxon Mobil's Employee Match program and kind adult volunteer tutors coming from churches and the community, LL continued reaching more students and tutors. By 2012, we had 27-34 Fairport school kids, necessitating our expanding to two nights per week in April of 2013. By the next school year we had 42 students and needed a milestone third night of tutoring, with the help of many volunteers from Church of the Resurrection. This past Spring, we finished the school year with 54 kids attending part-time to full-time each week. Our current schedule gives 95 students the chance to attend LL as K-2nd graders on Thursdays, 6th-12th graders on Wednesdays and 3rd-5th graders on Tuesdays.
The majority of Learning Links of Fairport students live in The Pines of Perinton and come from families of diverse cultures and religious backgrounds from around the world, thus giving it the nickname, “The Little United Nations of Perinton.” Many kids in our program are the fastest adapting English speakers in their families and act as translators for their parents.
Learning Links is approved as a tutoring program by the Fairport Central School District. Partners in Community Development, a local non-profit organization coordinates the KidsCare building and has allowed us to use their facilities on The Pines campus. Although the program is non-denominational, we thank God for all our blessings and are supported by community members, area churches: FUMC, Church of the Resurrection, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Mt. Rise, Church of the Assumption, and more. Fairport Rotary and Fairport Area Lion's Club also support Learning Links of Fairport. Our community partner is Fairport Foundation, a 501 (c)3 entity, making your donations tax-deductible.
(Learning Links of Fairport was officially named after helping Webster United Methodist Church create a Learning Links
program in Webster--at Phillips Village. So, we became Learning Links of Fairport (Perinton and Penfield, too) as we have so much support from all three communities!
Bill LL Board VP & Fairport Admin. Liaison, Retired School Principal, College Instructor
Fun Fact: He was supposed to slow down when he retired, but it isn't happening so far!
Bill also wants to play more of golf with his wife, now that he doesn't have to get up and go to school everyday! Bill has been guiding the LL board of directors from the beginning!
Brian Treasurer LLBoard Member/Long-time tutor and Benefactor since 2009
Fun Fact: He enjoys being a husband, dad and grandpa!
Spends time around the world and at home, but guess where he loves to be the most, with his growing family! He's also really smart and he can help kids with almost any questiono they have. We're blessed to have Mr. Brian so involved at LL!
Cindy Our LL School Liaison/Retired Educator
Fun Fact: Family theme is "Better Crazy than Boring"
I have been an educator all of my adult life both in my career, as a grandmother recently, and as a volunteer through Rotary. Thus my motto is: The more you give the more you receive.
Becky LL Board Secretary/3rd-5th Grade Coordinator/Fpt Rotary President-Elect
Fun Fact: Started MOBY, helping folks in "My Own BackYard"
Becky has never met a kid or kid project that she didn't love! Becky helps LL students
with bikes, backpacks and school trips, too!
Her motto: Isn't this so much fun!
Shelley LL Board/Adult Tutoring Coordinator/ Retired ENL Administrator & Educator
Fun Fact: Loves to travel
Has a lot of fun working with the Adults who bravely take on English as their second
Her motto: Never stop learning!
Newcomb K-2 Thurs Night Coordinator / ChildCare & Engineer!
Fun Fact: You can call her "Newc."
A #1 Stand-in as K-2 Coordinator when MaryAnne had to go on leave. She's aces in the clutch and we appreciate all Newc does!
Alma LL Board Member/Islamic Consultant
Fun Fact: Can do more laundry in one day than 4 people combined!
Contributes to the cultural components of our discussions as well as financial fund raising too! Our wonderful asset to the board!
Kalsan LL Board Member, Proud Mother, Pines Resident & Liaison
Fun Fact: Happiness is her middle name, or should be!
Kalsan is a key assist to all things Learning Links and loves the program!
Carlee Board Member Emeritus, Long-time tutor and Benefactor since 2009
Fun Fact: Has so much fun with her sisters, ask her what they did last!
Carlee is so nice to her students no matter how old they are and what they are studying. She's a veteran tutor we depend on!
Dave Wednesday Night Facilitator/Community & Church Leader
Fun Fact: He loves to cook and share!
Always seems to know what's needed at Learning Links and comes through with great people, great ideas and great goodies!
MaryAnne Thursday Night K-2 / On Sabbatical
Fun Fact: She's a bird and nature expert!
Loves our K-2 kids so much and will be back soon!
Sharon Retired Educator/Red Cross Volunteer
Fun Fact: Creator of the LL Back2School Program
Sharon likes to help people!
Joanne Retired Orthodontist
Fun Fact: Has the same birthday as her student!
Joanne represents Learning Links so well that she recruits super speakers for the summer program and tells potential new tutors what LL is all about!
Chris Business Owner
Fun Fact: Reads a mean "The Night Before Christmas" in bathrobe, slippers and
long winter cap!
More to come on Chris...
Patti Xerox Executive
Fun Fact: We will have to ask Ms. Patti!
More to come on Patti...
Fun Fact: Ask her about her horse! And she knows how to spot one twin from another!
Loves to ice skate and swim and have fun!
Dave Retired Xerox Executive, Fairport Library Board President
Fun Fact: Husband, Father, Grandfather of about 44?
Dave loves kids and his students at Learning Links! For some reason, he keeps getting to tutor a kid who can't sit still, or down, but manages to impart his wisdom anyway!
Judy LL Board Member Emeritus / Legal Assistant by day
Fun Fact: Loves to travel
Judy learns from the kids as much as they learn from the tutors.
Her motto: Never stop learning!
Emily Board Member Emeritus, Original Web Page Designer for LL
and grant writer/PennState Graduate Volunteer Network Coordinator
Fun Fact: Proud Aunt of three darling nieces!
Emily just got married! Graduated (with highest honors) SUNY Binghamton in a dual major, All-American Lacrosse Player in High School and for fun learns how to write a grants and then create a website for Learning Links! MBA graduate! Lives in Princeton, NJ.