Gia Tatone said after she was elected last year to the Moon Area School Board she wanted to find a way to give back to the community.
So Tatone and a group of township volunteers are now offering a free tutoring service to students living in the Moon Area School District. The program, called "World Kids Cafe," held its first session Saturday at St. Philip's Church on Beaver Grade Road.
The program, which is not affiliated with the school district, is open to local students in kindergarten through high school and will be offered twice monthly.
"Tutoring is incredibly expensive and it's something that not everyone can invest it," Tatone said. "We were hearing that there was a need in the community for it."
Tatone said a handful of volunteers, several of them certified educators, have already signed on to work with students in subjects ranging from writing and English to mathematics and general study skills.
Parents are required to attend the sessions alongside their students. The 45-minute sessions are scheduled to take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturday of each month at St. Philip's. A summer schedule for the program has not yet been announced, Tatone said.
The idea for a tutoring program was spurred by Tatone's own work with her service group called Project Genesis, which she and friends began in 2008 to work with orphan and foster children. The group has provided aide to Haitian orphans and baskets of food to children in Ecuador.
"We have been diligent working with foster and orphaned children," Tatone said. "But I wanted to find a way to help in our own backyards."
Tatone said she worked with area students in her former position as a coordinator for the Sewickley Valley YMCA, which hosts an after-school homework assistance program.
"Private tutoring can cost $25 to $75 an hour," Tatone said. "But we're willing to step in and help with that. It's a matter of affordability and availability."
Parents interested in enrolling their child in the World Kids Cafe tutoring program should email ProjectGenesisMSC@gmail.com.