This is the second of a 3-part series by KLST’s Daija Barret about WHIT, a nonprofit tutoring program for children in the foster-care system.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — As WHIT, or Weekly Hands-on Independent Tutoring, prepares to take it’s nonprofit tutoring for foster children statewide, the program’s volunteer tutors help make all the difference in kid’s lives.

The WHIT program uses volunteers from the honors program at Angelo State University who dedicate their time to helping students in foster care. The model is something the program hopes to replicate as they expand to different parts of the state.

Right now, the WHIT program serves 30 students in San Angelo with the help of 30 tutors. The program is looking to expand next year to serve hundreds of students across the state.

“I was exposed to foster care at a young age,” said Carolyn Loper, a tutor with the WHIT program. “My Mom is a public elementary school teacher and a lot of her students have been in the foster care system, so I’ve always been looking for a way to reach out and give back.”

Loper, a Freshman and honors student at Angelo State University, says one of the best things about helping with the WHIT program is her ability to use her own academic strengths to help students get on track.

“I’m just really honored. I mean it’s something so small for me,” said Loper. “Just saying I’ll be there for them for one hour a week and I’ll just help them figure out their school, which is something I know how to do. It’s one of my strengths and just walking alongside them really meant the world to let me see the impact that I’ve had from something just so small that was so easy for me to give.”

Other volunteers, like Colton Rowe, a Sophomore at ASU, are able to use their tutoring experience to learn more about teaching and helping others.

“The teaching, the tutoring is one thing,” said Rowe, “but what I’m learning about how to teach, how to tutor, how to hand these kids … And what these kids go through, you know, it’s definitely worth the time, and that’s not even a lot of time.”

Both Loper and Rowe are taking something deeper from their work as tutors.

“Realizing how much help some of them do need because they’ve been through an awful lot in a lot of these cases and I know for my student they’re definitely a little bit behind,” said Rowe. “But it’s nothing that can’t be remedied with some hard work and they put in that hard work and it’s super impressive to see them come in here ready to work that hard.”

“I’m just really thankful for the opportunity and it’s been really crazy to see how little it takes to really change someone’s life,” said Loper. “I think that if you can be a tutor you should definitely look into it because it’s just an hour of your week and it really really does make a difference in these kids’ worlds.