Working with her brother and sister, our guest blogger Deborah McDonald helped to start Operation Timothy, an after school tutoring program designed to keep students from falling behind in school and dropping out. Operation Timothy is a ministry of David’s Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Tanner, Alabama.
I was born and raised in a small rural community in Alabama. I was raised in a large family by two loving parents. Having parents like mine made the difference in our lives. We didn’t have a lot of material things, but we had two people that knew what we needed to grow and survive in this world. They stressed education. If you are educated you can go places and become a productive citizen rather than a burden to your community and society, they would say. They were loving and nurturing, but they were also tough. My parents loved life, God and they loved to see us do well in school. They provided the guidance, time and attention that we needed at the stages in our lives that we needed it.
Not all kids have the parents that my sisters and brothers and I had, this is why we do what we do. In the community that we live in there are many children in single parent homes, kids in homes where education is not a priority, they don’t get enough time and attention at home, therefore they don’t do well at school. A lot of people will say this is because they are low income as well, but we were low income and we succeeded. Income alone is not the problem. Children that grow up in families where there is not enough nurturing, emphasis on education and low income are “at risk” of dropping out of school and becoming a burden to society.
My older brother and sister saw many children in our community from these homes, the high school dropout rate was very high and we decided that we needed to do something. We were blessed with good parents so we wanted to give back to the community. We started an after school program that we named “Operation Timothy.” We offer tutoring, mentoring and one on one attention to children that are “at risk” in our community. We believe that if we can make a difference in one of these kids lives it will be worth it. “Operation Timothy” has been in operation for six years and has been very successful. The community has embraced us and we are giving these kids what they need to succeed.