WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Every Monday, two buses full of kids from Anacostia pull up next to the nation's Capitol. Waiting on the sidewalk are their tutors with Horton's Kids. Two-by-two, these tutor-student teams walk into the Rayburn House Office Building for an hour of homework.
One of the students is third grader Faith Kirksey. She's been working with her tutor, Leslie Eagle, since September.
"She is kind, and she doesn't yell at me," said Kirksey. "She taught me books. She taught me math. She taught me everything."
"All I do is try to make learning fun," said Eagle. "One-on-one tutoring is just perfect, and it works."
Leslie is one of the 700 volunteer tutors with Horton's kids, but the group does far more than help kids with their homework.
"We learned a long time ago that we couldn't just help them with our academics if we didn't also address other things that the children needed such as dental care and getting the kids glasses if they need them," said Brenda Chamberlain, the Executive Director of Horton's Kids. "We also feed them every time we see them."
Much of the funding for Horton's Kids, and the volunteers, come from the Junior League of Washington.
"Unfortunately, it's very important to us because of the literacy rates in our local communities," said Natalie Laing, the President of the Junior League of Washington.
A 2007 study by the State Education Agency conducted showed that 36% of Washington, DC residents are functionally illiterate.
"What that means is you might be able to pick up a basic book and read, but you can't read say a medical prescription, a bus schedule, or other things that you need to read to function and get around your community," said Laing. "And that's where we need to have an impact."
That's exactly what Eagle is hoping to do for little Faith.
"You walk away every day seeing growth, seeing a little difference, and seeing real lives being changed," said Eagle. "I don't think you always see that in every volunteer situation."
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, you can learn how on the Horton's Kids website. You can also help the Junior League of Washington raise funds for Horton's Kids by attending their 51st Annual Capital Collection of Holiday Shops this weekend. It's the Junior League's biggest fundraiser of the year and all proceeds go to 22 non-profits that promote literacy in Washington, D.C., including Horton's Kids. You can learn more about the event by going to the Junior League of Washington's website.
Written by Kristin Fisher
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com