MARQUETTE - Like many kids, Marquette Senior High School freshman Makayla Foster sometimes needs help with her homework. So she attends Homework Night at one of the local churches.
Makayla has been going to Homework Night at Messiah Lutheran Church on West Magnetic Street in Marquette for eight years .
"I like coming (to Homework Night) because I have a lot of friends that come here and it's a pleasant environment," Makayla said. "I get a lot done here and it's just a fun experience."
Makayla Foster and Jordan Mohr, both freshman at MSHS, brought their instruments to Homework Night at the Messiah Lutheran Church to practice together Tuesday night. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Makayla was part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program when she was younger and her Big Sister introduced her to Homework Night.
"After the first few times coming with her I loved it and enjoyed it so I continued to come," Makayla said.
Homework Night is held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. According to Mike Davis, church youth and family ministry co-coordinator, the program was started about 16 years ago when Danny Stone, who was the coordinator had six or seven kids come in one night for homework help.
"He got together with kids in the youth group and went to a conference, came back and (thought), 'Well how can we bring some of this conference back to Marquette,'" Davis said. "So they decided to start a homework night for kids who needed to work on their homework and didn't have a place to do it."
Kids from elementary up through high school go to Homework Night for help. For the first hour, the kids have to concentrate on homework, which ranges from projects to book work or even music, Davis said. It's different for each kid.
"We have a lot of kids here who are in the high school orchestra or band or chorus and middle school ones as well," he said. "So they'll come and bring their instruments and practice."
Davis said that he thinks that their program offers an advantage: he and his wife work for the schools so they know everyone at Bothwell Middle School and have friends that work at the high school.
"With the technology that we have here - 12 computers or so -if anybody says, 'I have homework, but I don't know what to do,' we have them log in and say 'Oh look, do that,'" he said.
The kids who attend arrive with homework that needs to be done or needs to be looked over. But they mostly come with work to do, Davis said.
"Especially now, at the beginning of the year, they have a lot of work to do and they usually stay pretty busy which is nice," he said.
Even though the program is held at a church, it is a secular program and they don't preach or talk about God at all, so they are really open to the entire community, Davis said.
"We started as a service to the community and that's the goal," he said. "It's not necessarily to advance the church's agenda, it's just to give the kids a place to do homework."
The church gives the program about $300 a month and the rest of the funding comes from grants and donations.
"The community has been super generous with donations," Davis said. "All the computers we have here were donated and a lot of the money we get is donated.We definitely don't make any money on our own."
All kids are welcome to attend Homework Night by just showing up and filling out an information card.
For more information about the program, contact Messiah Lutheran Church at 225-1119.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500.