What’s Working: Volunteer tutors students for forty years without pay

What's Working

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — In tonight’s What’s Working, imagine spending four days a week tutoring students but not bringing home a paycheck. One local volunteer has spent decades as a tutor, and he’s never gotten paid. 

Mr. James Richardson is a retired middle school math teacher, and he started tutoring over 40 years ago at the Lyons Park clubhouse. Students come from all over Mobile for his help. He offers help four days a week.

“You hear people say ‘what is wrong with our kids today,’ but no one does anything to help them. That’s why I want to help them,” Richardson said.

Eighth-grader Paris Lang comes three days a week. Math isn’t her favorite subject, but she likes how Mr. Richardson explains it to her.

“If I need help with math, I know I can get Mr. Richardson’s help,” Lang said.

“Mr. Richardson has been Johnny on the Spot. The kids love him. I love him. He’s a great guy,”  Paris’ father, Eddie Hunter said.

Many parents have offered to pay Mr. Richardson for his services but he says having the children get good grades is pay enough.

“The results when the child is learning is more than pay. When you find a child that is learning because of something you did, money doesn’t mean a thing,” Richardson said.

Mr. Richardson loves seeing the hard work pay off, and he just can’t walk away and retire when he’s helping students who were so eager to learn.
“I have been telling them for 10-12 years. This is going be the last year and they say, ‘no, you have to stay there until I graduate, ha ha.”

At seventy-four years old, Mr. Richardson doesn’t show signs of stopping. He is also the tennis director at Lyons Park, so between his tennis activities and his tutoring, he is still as busy as ever!

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