EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is the fourth in a four-part series for Wicked Local Beverly’s annual Gifts of Hope campaign.

Christelle* first found out about Beverly Bootstraps from a neighbor, and began visiting the food pantry to help feed her children.

Now that they’re getting older, ranging in age from 4 to 13, Christelle has found the organization’s after-school homework club to be another great resource.

“They love it so much,” she said.

The homework club provides a nurturing environment where staff, volunteers and interns provide mentoring and educational support to students who are at risk of academic failure.

With two children already enrolled and a third excited to be joining his siblings in the program next fall, Christelle said she is already seeing great results.

″[My daughter’s] doing awesome,” she said. “Her first semester this year, she got all As. I can’t thank Bootstraps enough. … And my son used to struggle, but now he brags about how good he does in the program.”

Julia Andrews, education program director, explained that Christelle’s son benefits from the 5 O’Clock Club, an extension of the after-school homework program that offers social skills activities. The club is designed for children who have older siblings also in the after-school program.

“There are a number of families that have siblings in the club,” Andrews said. “We try to work with families so they don’t have to arrange multiple pick-ups.”

With her children getting homework help at Beverly Bootstraps, Christelle said she has more time to focus on her own education, and is one test away from completing Bootstraps’ High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) program.

Christelle said her children love taking vacations, but her current income doesn’t allow for that.

“I want to become a nurse and give them the opportunity to have those experiences,” she said. “Bootstraps is helping my kids and helping me, as well … I can’t express how grateful I am.”

Currently, there are seven elementary students and 15 middle school students enrolled in Beverly Bootstraps’ after-school program. There is also a wait list with about six to eight names on it; priority is given to those who already have siblings in the program so as to help out the parents.

To learn more about the programs and services offered at Beverly Bootstraps, visit www.beverlybootstraps.org.

* Names in this article have been changed.

Give a Gift of Hope

Thanks to the continued generosity of donors, Beverly Bootstraps remains community funded and supported. Donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, churches and local organizations all help provide critical resources to individuals and families so they may achieve self-sufficiency.

This holiday season, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to Beverly Bootstraps.

To send donations, write ‘Gifts of Hope’ in the subject line of your check. Send your contribution to: Beverly Bootstraps Community Services, 35 Park St., Beverly, MA 01915.

You can also donate online at www.beverlybootstraps.org. Volunteers are also always needed for the various programs Bootstraps provides. For more information about Beverly Bootstraps, visit www.beverlybootstraps.org or call 978-927-1561.