How ACE Began
ACE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community-based organization that grew out of a 4-year old tutoring program run by the medical students of University of Massachusetts. The students had created a program offering one-on-one tutoring/homework help for refugee children from Liberia. Although the student initiative had expanded through the years and offered services to more children, occasional one-hour tutoring sessions, unfortunately, were not sufficient for facing the educational crisis faced by the refugee and immigrant population.
Many of the children we serve have had little or no formal education at all prior to coming to the U.S. due to the difficult situations in their home countries. Thus we saw children who were 12 years old who had never been in school but were placed in 6th and 7th grade. These children need a lot more attention than the medical students' program could offer. Additionally, there was an increasing number of children coming for help and a limited number of tutors to work with them.
As the need for a larger program became more obvious, several members of the Worcester African community and some medical students joined efforts in hopes to address the problem. It was decided to create an organization whose sole purpose would be to serve children from ALL African countries, who are refugees/recent immigrants/children of immigrants, who are behind in school, and who want help with their studies. In addition, the goal was to engage the more established and educated portion of the African community in Worcester to come and volunteer their time to tutor the children in need. This was how ACE was started and the Saturday program created.
We continue to believe that an organization rooted in the community will have better sustainability than an "outsider" organization. Members of the African community know and understand the children's situations better, are familiar with the educational system formerly available to the children in their home countries, and are able to better communicate with the children with their common ties.
To learn more, read our mission statement.
Despite the unique focus on community members, it is very important for ACE to also partner with various other organizations and the Worcester Public School system. It is our goal to ensure that our services are fully in-line with the public schools and that our teachers can communicate with the children's teachers at school to provide the most well-rounded team approach to each child's education. We likewise rely on local colleges and universities for the incredible support their students offer in providing one-on-one tutoring to our children.
Click to learn more about our partners.