For Immediate Release
Contact: Ray Wyman, Jr.
Voice/Fax: 714/997-3808


Fifth Year of Operation - Announces $6.5M Program to
Expand After-School Services for At-Risk Children

ORANGE, CALIF., September 1997 -- In commemoration of it's fifth year of operation, Homework House, an all-volunteer tutoring program that offers free tutoring to school-age children, today unveiled a five-year plan to open 120 free tutoring sites in Orange and LA Counties.

Associate Director of Homework House, Ray Wyman, Jr. is leading the charge for the expansion project. He estimates that the plan will allow Homework House help nearly 65,000 children, grades 1 through 12, over five years. Help will come in the form of tutoring in all school subjects, but will emphasize literacy. "Today more kids than ever can't read a newspaper, much less write at their grade level," says Wyman. "Each year, more and more of them give up on learning and resort to "at-risk" behavior as a means of obtaining surrogate social support from their peers. This is a real problem and is already having a huge negative impact on our community."

The Reading Center at Chapman University has recently joined forces with Homework House. The center's director, Bobbi Fisher, is providing mentoring and training consultation to volunteer tutors at Homework House. "Our aim is to bring curricular continuity to the program, but our focus is to provide more children with this vital service," comments Fisher. "Nobody has ever stepped up to the plate with such an ambitious program and we're very happy to be counted as a partner in this effort."

Wyman estimates that the expansion project will cost approximately $6.5 million. They plan on raising the funds through cash grants and in-kind donations from local businesses. "But the real magic will come from the foundations, and state and local government funding agencies.

"Since Barbara Abouchar started the program five years ago, we've learned some really fantastic ways of working with these kids. Now we're looking for a way to apply what we've learned on a much larger scale.

"We've learned so much about why children don't do as well in school as they should," remarks Barbara Abouchar, the program's executive director. "Lots of them that come here are labeled as low achievers because of problems at home or school, but most of them are of average or above average intelligence. We found that if we just encourage them to pick up a book and start reading, the rest of the learning will start flowing in."

Deborah Lichtman, Title One Coordinator for Orange High School, estimates that about half of the student body at the school needs some form of after school tutoring. "When they come here, most are already two or three grades behind in reading, writing, and comprehension. There are quite a few programs available if the child has a learning disability or has already demonstrated serious at-risk behavior. Homework House provides a safe-harbor so these kids can get the attention they need before they get into trouble or have turned-off to learning completely."

"By the year 2003, we want to be able to offer this vital after-school services to more than 24 thousand children every school year," says Wyman. "Eventually, we want to see that every child has access to free tutoring and mentoring at a program like this."

Homework House has sites open in Orange and Placentia. New sites are planned in Atwood, Norwalk, and Whittier, with two additional sites to open in Orange this year.

Homework House is a non-profit organization that provides free tutoring for students in grades 1 through 12. The program is headquartered at 205 South Glassell Street in Orange, Calif. 92866. For schedules and sign-up information, call 714-633-1691. Press should contact Ray Wyman, Jr. via voice or FAX at 714-997-3808, or Email him at Information is also available from the World Wide Web at


Editor's Note: Photos are available.

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