Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Thank you for supporting VISD students

By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 7, 2014 at 12:07 a.m.

Education is a tool and a resource our society is fortunate to have access to. For millennia, the only people who were allowed or able to receive an education were the rich and elite of society. Today, cultures around the world are given access to knowledge from the ability to read to all manner of sciences and innovations.

In Victoria, our community has a strong focus on improving education for everyone, especially students who are struggling or need assistance for various reasons. In a recent article, the Advocate looked at the tutoring and mentoring offered by University of Houston-Victoria students as part of a federal work-study partnership between UHV, the Victoria Independent School District, the Boys and Girls' Club of Victoria and Communities in Schools. The work-study program offers university students a way to earn income while also gaining experience for their resumes and the working world.

The work-study program is not the only effort being made to support education in Victoria schools. The community has come together through many different groups, businesses, individuals and more to create a huge network that supports education in Victoria, said Diane Boyett, spokeswoman for VISD. The district and, more importantly, its students are receiving support from multiple areas.

VISD conducts after-school homework centers for high school students that are staffed by employees of the district. In addition, there are also homework centers available across the community through groups such as the Boys and Girls Club.

One of the major mentoring programs that anyone can get involved in is the Help One Student to Succeed, or HOSTS, program. To be a part of HOSTS, a person only needs to volunteer a minimum of 30 minutes a week to offer one-on-one support to a student for academic tutoring, career/college mentoring or life skills preparation. The people who take part in this program come from all walks of life, Boyett said. Some are parents or retired people. Others are professionals who work at a company that encourages or allows community involvement during the work day. The Victoria Business and Education Coalition is the recruiting arm for this program. Faith Family Church has also made the HOSTS program a part of its community outreach ministry. Members were encouraged to volunteer in VISD schools to help students earn and achieve an education.

Besides the HOSTS program, VISD also has the Communities in Schools program, which works on different school campuses to help students enhance their skills, Boyett said. Each of these programs are amazing opportunities for members of the community to come forward and touch the lives of students in our area, and we are proud to see how involved our community is.

"It's a very huge, long list of the above-and-beyond groups who make a difference," Boyett said. "It would take lots of pages to list them all."

We applaud the Victoria community for its strong support of education. Every tutor who takes part in this effort to educate the next generation is also serving as a mentor and an inspiration to kids who may not understand the importance of getting a good education. To all of the people, companies, nonprofit groups and more who help promote education, thank you. Your investment in the future of our community is appreciated. We hope more people will follow your lead and step forward to support our children through education. We are grateful for everything you have done, and we think Boyett said it best: "Any person who is willing to give of their time gets a shout-out."

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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