By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) has debuted a new feature for our subscribers and visitors to BlackPressUSA.com. We will regularly conduct live interviews on Facebook.com/blackpressusa and BlackPressUSA.com.
We will feature interviews with those who are making an impact in communities around the country. The first livestream, conducted on Monday, April 6, was a reminder that education is still essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Editor’s Note: The discussion starts at the 1:40 mark on the video.)
Roland Omene, the president and CEO of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Frog Tutoring, said his company is offering two months of free online tutoring to help students and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with NNPA Newswire that was broadcast live over Facebook, Omene said more than 100 tutors have agreed to volunteer their services twice a week until the end of May.
The live stream also included James Washington, the publisher of the Dallas Weekly, a member publisher of the Black Press of America.
“I reached out to tutors to see if they would be willing to volunteer their time to teach classes online pro bono,” Omene stated.
“I was stunned that over 100 of our instructors answered the call and have committed to teaching over 280 free and live online courses for students in K-12 affected by COVID-19.”
Omene has helmed Frog Tutoring since 2009 but stated that this was the first time that he’d reached out to the Black Press of America.
The overwhelming majority of his students are white, and the vast amount can easily afford the standard $50 per hour tutoring rate, he stated.
“Not everyone can afford to spend $200 per week on tutoring. It’s not something that you do once or twice, it’s continuous,” he stated.
However, anyone can register for the free service, Omene added.
“When I got the information from Omene, it triggered something in me,” Washington interjected.
“When I looked at this, I viewed it from a technologically initiative within our community that people didn’t know existed.”
“This [demand for tutoring] is not going away. When everything passes, businesses are going to go back to the usual, but teachers are learning a skill that maybe they didn’t have. There’s this resource called the Black Press.
“This is a global outfit that we’re talking about. This is not necessarily a thing I look at that only poor parents need. There are school systems that probably would love to have something like this to take some of the load off of teachers.
“Once back to normal, teachers are going back to the classrooms. Online teaching will go back to classroom with them. That’s a slow-moving aircraft that’s hard to turn.”
Omene concurred with Washington’s assessment, adding that he would certainly recognize the importance of the Black Press going forward.
There’s no commitment to enroll, and all are welcome, Omene said.
“If they see value in this for the next eight weeks and in the future, if there’s a need, we are hoping they come back to us. The goal is to launch on April 13.”