Pleasant Hill CME Church member Robert Taylor assists Conyers resident Courtney Coleman with a practice test for her GED.
CONYERS -- Robert Taylor is home to stay and that is good news for students in need of homework help and tutoring in the Pleasant Hill community of Rockdale County. After he started a tutoring program at his church, Pleasant Hill CME in 2006, Taylor's company transferred him to a new city.
"I left Conyers and my church for a while," he said. "With me leaving, it was tough to keep it going consistently. I was gone two years and it faded out. We always had a desire to keep it going."
Now back home and working for SunTrust International Operations, Taylor and his church have decided to start up the tutoring program once again.
Pleasant Hill CME's new pastor, the Rev. Carolyn Carlisle, has stated her goal is to increase the church's community outreach in a number of areas, including the tutoring program. In addition, the church is partnering with the SunTrust Volunteer Network to help provide volunteers to join those volunteers from Pleasant Hill CME who will help with the tutoring.
When word got out that the program was coming back, students were already calling for help.
"We had somebody to call us who wanted GED tutoring," Taylor said.
"We decided to go ahead and start tutoring them as they worked on passing their test. Another student also came. It's a great opportunity to start the program, especially when someone's reaching out to you. We started early. They've been coming consistently and have a great desire to get this done for themselves."
Taylor said he also had another man, an older gentleman who came up to him at church and said he wanted to work on getting his GED. The man told him his children came when the tutoring program was going on before.
Taylor said he has also had parents tell him they wanted him to restart the program because their kids' grades were so much better when he and the other volunteers were tutoring them.
Before Taylor left town, he said they had helped around 25 students ranging in age from first grade through 12th.
The newly reactivated Pleasant Hill CME tutoring program will now be helping students on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. during the school year. Tutors will help GED students year round.
Taylor said anyone is welcome to come for help and the church is also seeking volunteers who would like to help tutor the students.
"Anybody who wants to volunteer is welcome," he said. "We just ask you to have patience. Sometimes the kids just want somebody to be there. You don't have to be a science expert, but really, just be there."
Taylor, a native of Lumberton, N.C., is the son of two teachers.
"We're a teaching family," he said. "We had a revival service this past September and I was moved to rededicate myself to teaching and learning. It's a commitment that I made. I did a 60-day fast -- no meat, no sugar -- to just kind of center myself.
"It just takes a level of commitment. If just one kid shows up, you have to be there. You ask God to help you mentally and to take on the task. I think we're going to be able to meet those challenges. There is definitely a need."
Participants and volunteers do not have to be members of the church and the program is free.
Taylor said parents are encouraged to also come and they can be in there with their children or attend a prayer or Bible study at the church during that time.
"We're not there to play, but to learn," he said. "We're not babysitters. The kids need to come ready to learn."
For more information about helping with or getting help from the Pleasant Hill CME tutoring program, call Taylor at 404-394-9740 or 678-526-8397.