CCYC youth program helps kids with learning

February 23, 2021

The Executive Director of the Centralia Community Youth Center (CCYC), Herb Williams, was the speaker at one of the Centralia Rotary Club meetings earlier this month. Mr. Williams, who also serves Centralia as the mayor, made it clear that during the meeting he was speaking to them as Herb Williams and not as the mayor.

Mr. Williams said he has always been passionate about helping children. During the many years he lived and worked out-of-state, he had been involved with youth programs, such as youth camps, where he coached and helped out in other ways. He said when he decided to retire, he knew the best place to go was back home, to Centralia.

Herb has been involved with the CCYC for the last six years. The mission of the CCYC is “to provide education, recreation, and resource opportunities to low and moderate income families throughout the city of Centralia.” To do this mission and provide services in our community, they rely on the generosity of individuals and local businesses for support.

One of the Youth Center’s programs that has been very successful and very needed is their tutoring program. The Centralia Youth Initiative and The Fred Pearson Foundation generously support the After-School Tutoring Program and have also helped in the hiring of the tutoring coordinator, Josh Favors, who is also their computer tech guy. The program provides assistance in homework and other activities. Tutors are available in reading, writing, English (with lots of help in spelling), and math—lots of math. This tutoring is available for all grade levels and many of the tutors are retired teachers.

Mr. Williams explained a couple of other reasons the tutoring program is so successful. When the kids get their report cards, they are to take them to Josh so he can see exactly what subjects with which they need the most help. They also put newspaper articles on the bulletin board about the kids who have achieved good marks to show all students what they should aspire to be. Another way they strive to teach kids is by insisting they treat people with respect. All adults are called by their title (Mr. Herb, Mr. Josh, Ms. Kristy, etc.). They also teach the kids to respect the building and the things that belong to others as well. As a result, Mr. Williams has been told, police calls for the 8-13 year old age group have gone down 45% in Centralia.

The CCYC also has a computer room where they have 14 laptops and 10 tower computers. The kids are closely monitored as to what they can access on them, but they are used for both education and recreation. There is no cost for tutoring sessions or any activities.

The Centralia Rotary Club began meeting at the Elks Club on Monday, February 22. Until further notice, the meetings will be hybrid format-both in-person and on Zoom.

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