CRANFORD, NJ – Cranford teen Julia Lachenauer hopes to ease the financial burden of tutoring for younger students by creating a free, drop-in tutor program.

Students in kindergarten through 5th grade can receive free tutoring from Cranford High School students in any subject.

“This is important to me because education is the key to a brighter future, and it all starts in elementary school,” Lachenauer said. “If a student is having trouble with their schoolwork, it is important to help them understand it as soon as possible, so that they don't fall behind and become discouraged from learning new things.”

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Lachenauer, a junior at the Academy for Allied Health Sciences at Union County Vocational Technical School, came up with the idea to satisfy the requirements for her Girl Scout Gold Award.

“I came up with the idea for a tutoring program when I thought about how difficult and expensive it can be to hire a tutor, and how some families may not be able to afford or have access to a tutor,” she said.  “So, I created this program to get academic help to as many people as possible by making it a free, drop-in program.”

In return for offering their services, the high school tutors receive community service hours. Service is provided on a “first-come-first-serve” basis, so parents are encouraged to bring their kids to the library early to reserve a spot.

“This program has helped many children with their schoolwork, and their parents have expressed satisfaction with the program,” Lachenauer said. “This is a simple way to get academic help for your children, without the need for expensive tutors and complex scheduling.”

Tutoring is available in all subjects. Parents can sign up by bringing their children to the tutoring table near the magazine rack on the first floor of the library on Wednesdays between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Students are asked to bring their subject textbooks, workbooks, notebooks and writing supplies.