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Gubernatorial forum discusses using church-based after-school programs to elevate youth

7 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Saturday, July 08 2023 Jul 8, 2023 July 08, 2023 2:53 PM July 08, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Inside Southern University's minidome, several Black church leaders held a gubernatorial debate to inform congregation members about the upcoming election. 

"That is to educate our people, to empower our people, and to edify people, as well educate them as it relates to those individuals seeking to be governor," President of the Greater Louisiana Baptist Convention Ricky Carter said.

One by one, each candidate answered a handful of questions about seven topics. The first question was about funding church-based after-school tutoring programs for students.

"Yes. I think any program we can do after school or in school, that gives kids the basics to be successful, that starts with reading and math," candidate Sharon Hewitt said.

"If they get out of the third, or fourth, or fifth grade, and they can't read, they're already in a pipeline to prison, and we don't want that at all, so it's a simple yes," candidate Hunter Lundy said.

"I think using churches as one of those community-based assets to support kids struggling is absolutely important. I think you use other things included in the bill, there's phonics, 90 minutes every day for kids that get held back," candidate Richard Nelson said.

"Every child has a path to success in Louisiana. We as a state have done a poor job over the years bending bureaucracy to meet them where they are. I am committed to bending the bureaucracy and meeting them where they are, to give them a productive pathway," candidate Stephen Waguespack said.

"We have to use faith-based organizations to do it, why? Because you can't wait until the third grade to deal with a child that can't read. You all know, and I know very well, at almost every church there is a group called tiny tots. You know who acts up, you know who needs the help," candidate Shawn Wilson said.

Candidates Jeff Landry, John Schroder, Xan John, and Daniel Cole were not in attendance. 

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