BLSA Volunteers at the West End School

On Wednesday, October 23, 2013, our BLSA chapter volunteered at the West End School. The West End School is a free, private, Kindergarten through 8th grade school for Louisville's at-risk, male youths. The school is located in the heart of the West End neighborhood of Louisville, KY. The school was started by Robert Blair (the headmaster) and his wife, Debbie Blair, to provide an academically rigorous education to youth in the neighborhood. The majority of the students attend school there during the day and return home at the end of the day and on the weekends. However, the males in 6th grade through 8th grade remain at the school all day and night during the week, return home on Friday night, and then return back to the school on Sunday night.

We had dinner with the young middle school students for an hour to get to know them. There was an order and structure for everything: the boys had to allow us as their guests to get served dinner first, everyone stood behind their chairs until everyone was served, the boys pulled out our seats, and the headmaster designated a student to pray over the dinner. We got a chance to hear firsthand from the boys what it was like to be at that particular school, what their goals were, what colleges they considered attending, and learned a lot about their personalities. The kids got a chance to get to know us by asking us questions about why we decided to attend law school, where we grew up, and our various favorite sports teams. A sense of trust was built before we were to go individually with some of the students in various classrooms to tutor them.

After dinner, students were sent to us in the various rooms, and we assisted them with their homework. We tutored the boys in a variety of subjects from history, to math, to reading; we helped them tackle learning about the four regions of Malaysia to learning about how to do algebra equations and the order of operations. After a couple of hours of tutoring, we had to say our good-byes, even though the boys were relucatant to let us go. Overall, the service directly benefitted the Louisville community, and our BLSA chapter was ecstatic that we were able to make a positive impact on those boys' lives.