The State of Education and How Tutoring to the Top is Making a Difference in Wayne and Duplin County, NC

Recently, a local high-school story went viral when it showed old equipment, broken floors, and rats in the school. That story was further detailed with descriptions of fighting and complete lack of control or respect in the classrooms. Teachers are overwhelmed and physically assaulted in classrooms. Administrators are overwhelmed. Students are ruling the room in anarchy and chaos. It’s not just this one school, nor is it all gang-related activity. This is the state of norm with kids in many schools today.

How can we expect teachers to control a room where they are scared and fear for their lives?

How can we expect proper authority to be established when state budgets are constantly seeing cuts to funding instead of increases?

More and more parents are tired of trusting the broken public education system. As a result, more and more families are pulling their kids out and into private schools. More and more new schools are appearing as well.

But what do you do if you can’t afford to send your kid to private school, nor do you have the time to stay home and homeschool them? How do we tackle the learning gaps when our kids come home with mountains of homework and frustration over all the things they don’t understand?

The best we can do is become active advocates for the care and education of our children. Whenever possible, that should include tutoring to help students overcome the deficiency they are experiencing.

(The following story was originally published in The Duplin Times.)

According to the US Census Bureau, 33-34% of people living in poverty in Wayne and Duplin counties are 18 years old or younger. Research suggests that constant changes, stress at home, and unequal access to learning resources contribute to lags in learning in the classroom. For things to get better, there has to be a concentrated effort inside education to recognize and assist where there is need. Tutor To The Top, part of the non-profit mission of Rones Chapel Area Community Center, is a free K-12 tutoring program that can help. 

Tutor To The Top has been serving southern Wayne and northern Duplin counties since 2016. They offer tutoring with credentialed, experienced tutors to anyone that needs it–regardless of socioeconomic status. Tutoring sessions are by appointment only and one hour a week per child. Appointments are available after school between 4 and 7pm at partnering locations. Sessions are currently offered at the Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive and Rones Chapel Area Community Center in northern Duplin county. 

Recently, the program opened a partnership with the fitness and wellness center, Dream Works, in Warsaw. Brian Dicicco, the facility director, said they were excited to provide the space for Tutor To The Top because “we operate on a faith-based set of values and want to be able to offer services to the community–not just be a fitness and wellness business”. In addition to low-cost memberships, Dream Works offers rentable spaces and has partnered with other community outreach events such as the Toys 4 Tots Drive with the Salvation Army in December 2021.   

Since COVID and remote learning, 20% more families saw the value in tutoring services and enrolled their children in Tutor To The Top in 2021. The increased demand just makes funding more challenging. Families are encouraged to donate to help cover the cost of tutoring, but they are not turned away if they are unable to pay. Neither are tutors lessened in their pay for the services they provide. What keeps the program alive is individuals and sponsors willing to donate funds to the program. Connie Wells, CEO of the Rones Chapel Area Community Center, said “generosity can come from the most unexpected places. Sometimes parents struggling to put food on the table are the biggest donors to the program because they see the value in investing in their children’s education.” 

Parents with children in the Tutor To The Top program through 2021 had glowing things to say about the program. “In their feedback forms,” Connie Wells said, “they told us that in 2021 one student’s math grades went from 13% to 91% in three months, another student made the honor roll in the first semester, and many more found that tutoring helped bridge the gap for their child’s remote COVID-related learning. Almost all parents recognized their kids have an increased self-awareness from tutoring that empowered them to be better advocates for themselves in classrooms as well.” 

What everyone agreed on–parents, students, and tutors–was that they want more time together. Tutors have invested in growing character–not just better grades–in their clients. Connie Wells said this is because “we are interested in growing professionals not just helping kids pass tests.”

To contact the organization to sponsor Tutor To The Top or to enroll a child in tutoring services, email RCACC@earthlink.net, call (919) 658-0476 and leave a message, or go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RCACC.NC/  

The 4 Day Movement: A Non-Profit Serving People in Crisis

Pastor DJ Coles and his wife, Ruth, have been givers and servers in ministry for as long as I can remember. Chaplain, youth pastor, recording artist, public speaker, mentor, father, husband, and a friend are just a few of the hats that Pastor DJ has worn. In 2013, Ruth began to pray that they would find something that used all their gifts. God answered that prayer audibly on June 4, 2013, at 4:00 in the morning:


I’ll do more in four days than normally happens in four years by My hand.

Message from God to Pastor DJ Coles

The Roadmap of Matthew 25

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison, and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Matthew 25:35-36, 40 NIV

God got really specific with what He wanted The 4 Day Movement to look like. He set up a structure for service that would strategically position The 4 Day Movement to serve the underserved populations in Wayne and surrounding counties in North Carolina. It would be a structure based on Matthew 25 that spread the good news of hope and Jesus Christ to the North, East, West, and South. It would be a ministry that sought neither glory nor fame; a ministry that served in the shadows with many people not even knowing their name.

In the early years of The 4 Day Movement, it was just Pastor DJ and his wife, Ruth. Before they had the means to do much, the Coles were “hope dealers” by themselves. They connected people in need with resources to the best of their ability. Over time, God added volunteers to the team as well as funding to expand their efforts. 

Focused on sheltering and feeding, The 4 Day Movement strives to see that no child goes hungry, no house sees a deficit in food, and short-term housing options are available for the homeless, displaced, and/or single-parent families in Wayne County and surrounding areas in North Carolina.

Pastor DJ Coles

Today, The 4 Day Movement is  moving towards the creation of its own affordable housing community with wrap-around services to assist and empower their clients within a structured environment. These efforts fall into four categories called the pillars of 4 Day.


The 4 Pillars of 4 Day

We were told to spread the Good News to the North, East, West, and the South. Wherever we get an “assignment”, we step in, plant a seed of hope, and God does the rest. He brings prosperity and provision to the people we serve, 4 Day itself, and all those who volunteer with 4 Day.

Pastor DJ Coles recalling the 2013 vision from the Lord

Assisting in Crisis and Emergency (Project A.C.E.)

The biggest pillar of need seen on a daily basis is the one where people are in a crisis and need help. This is the area that helps single-parent families and individuals find temporary shelter and food when their resources are limited or unsafe.

The phones ring off the hook for this need, but The 4 Day Movement uses discernment and a team assessment approach to determine which cases fit the scope of its mission. Requests for assistance must go through an intake process to screen out those aiming to misuse resources versus those with a legitimate need.

Serving and Assisting Veterans and Elderly (Project S.A.V.E.)

This pillar involves reinvesting value in the aged community as well as those who have served our country. This is the area that helped a veteran evicted from his three-bedroom home after missing just one payment. It is also the pillar that gives Food with Favor Boxes to the vulnerable elderly  populations within the community.  When we are all safely on the other side of Covid-19, one of the operations in this area is to go into the homes of the elderly and build relationships between the young and the old.

E4: Employment, Education, Enrichment, & Empowerment

Education and employability are key components of everything that The 4 Day Movement does to help people get back on their feet and become successful members of society. This is the area that helped pay an adult’s college tuition and books as well as sent six students on a school trip to a ballet.

Education is an important value to The 4 Day Movement and will be a requirement going into 2022. However, it can be a source of pain to the clients because many of them have repressed dreams that require education. The clients have lived in survival mode for so long that they have forgotten how to dream. With the help of The 4 Day Movement, the client pictured here went from being homeless living on the streets to graduating with his G.E.D., becoming gainfully employed, and having an apartment of his own.

Caring and Loving Every Adolescent and Teen in Sports (Project C.L.E.A.T.S.)

This pillar involves adopting a team or individual and paying for their gear to play in sports. This is the area that saw a child in tattered clothing show up to tryouts, got him new clothes and gear, and saw him become that team’s starting pitcher. It is also the area that took on feeding 12-15 players on a bus trip where no one had the money to buy food following a game.


4 Day Heroes: Volunteer and Paid Staff

Some 4 Day Heroes are here for a reason, some are here for a season, and some are here for a lifetime. We thank God for all of them.

Pastor DJ Coles
2021 4 Day Hero Team

It is no secret that The 4 Day Movement couldn’t be where it is today (or where it is headed) without volunteers. While some of those volunteers have moved into paid staff positions over time, most started as unpaid volunteers and were happy to do so. 

Volunteers and businesses that partner with The 4 Day Movement to accomplish the vision are known as 4 Day Heroes. A great example of this relationship is the partnership between The 4 Day Movement and Cornerstone Church. Pastor Ryan Rasmussen and the church have welcomed 4 Day to house its food pantry as well as staging for events and many of its meetings at the church. They are a truly giving congregation with a heart for the military and for the needy. 

From providing 1100 Thanksgiving hot meals to the second and third shift active-duty airmen at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to providing weekly Food With Favor Boxes into the community, The 4 Day Movement can’t do what it does without the help of business partners, prayer warriors, financial investors, and volunteers.

The Heroes of 4 Day are a tribe of their own. They come to serve because they want to give back to people who are struggling in areas they have personal experience with as well. The sacrifice of their time and resources is an investment, not a burden. They find joy in the fellowship they have with each other and in the service they are able to provide to the 4 Day clients. Most of the Heroes serve because it is something God led them to do, and, when they obey that direction, God has provided for their personal needs as well–even supernaturally.


The Burden and the Need

Leading a non-profit is a navigation of faith, funds, and communication. You have to be a good communicator because you are asking people to come in for a portion of what they could make in the for-profit sector. I believe what we are doing is more rewarding; you can have hundreds and thousands of dollars and still feel empty at the end of the day. Dollar amount aside, at 4 Day we feel very full like we have done something that meant something. You can’t put a dollar amount on that.

Pastor DJ Coles

Moving into 2022, The 4 Day Movement has several initiates in play to expand its role and influence in the community beyond Goldsboro, NC. It is also actively working to remove barriers to education for its clients.

In 2022, they are set to partner with a non-profit tutoring organization to provide K-12 tutoring to all the clients that need it.

It also will begin a partnership with Wayne Community College to bring classes to its clients and provide pathways into the college for further education.


We Need You!


Please consider helping The 4 Day Movement in one of the following ways:


Contribute financially to The 4 Day Movement online by PayPal or send a financial gift to: Attn:  4 Day Movement, Inc., 2822 Cashwell Dr., Box #146, Goldsboro, NC 27534 

Tax deductible receipts are available.

Go shopping with 4 Day through Amazon Smile.

Volunteer with 4 Day by mentioning this article and requesting an application via email to: 4daymovement@gmail.com

Pray for 4 Day. We know prayer softens hearts and opens doors, and many areas where The 4 Day Movement will stretch will require God’s providence and movement on their behalf.