During the last school year, Tyion Matthews, then a 3rd grader at John Eager Howard Elementary School, enjoyed a rewarding routine. Taking part in the Brown Memorial Tutoring Program, Tyion was greeted each week by his tutor, longtime Brown Memorial member David Mock. Separated in age by more than 80 years, the two developed a warm relationship.
“We used to read books and do some work,” said Tyion (pictured above with David Mock). “He used to get my snack and then we’d read Sports Illustrated. I felt excited working with him. He was nice and he taught me a lot.”
For 20 years, that was the case as David served faithfully as a volunteer tutor in the program. This year, with mobility an issue, David has been unable to tutor.
“It was a wonderful thing to help educate kids who might not succeed without it,” David says of his years tutoring. “And I always learned more than they did!”
On Feb. 5, the church celebrated the Tutoring Program after the worship service —and David Mock was saluted during that event for his many years of service. Along with tutoring, he served for years on the program’s advisory board, offering support and helping coordinate the program’s relationship with the church.
“He inspired a lot of students,” says Martha Socolar, director of the Tutoring Program, which operates out of the third floor of the education building. “He was a wonderful male role model for students, and they loved him. He was such a knowledgeable, gentle soul who cared so much about the kids.”
David is far from the only member of the extended Mock family to get involved in the Tutoring Program. Indeed, an astonishing four generations of the family have offered their talents to help Baltimore City children improve their literacy skills.
Both of his parents—Clark and Margaret Mock—were tutors during the program’s early years after its founding in 1964. They were “absolutely faithful” volunteers, says Sally Robinson, who directed the program for a decade beginning in the mid-1970s.
David’s late wife Virginia, better known as Jinks, also tutored as did his daughter, Melissa Riorda, and grand-niece Olivia Babb. His sister, Lynette Anderson, tutored for years, another sister, Peggy Obrecht, recently began tutoring and Mary Obrecht, Peggy’s daughter-in-law, has tutored and recently joined the program’s Commission (board).
In addition, the Tutoring Program is fortunate to have two Mock endowment funds—one honoring David’s parents and one honoring Jinks—with the proceeds providing some of the support needed to operate the program.
“Our program is deeply grateful to David and the Mock family—for decades of support,” said Martha Socolar. “They have truly made a difference in the lives of many Baltimore children.”
Learn more about how to volunteer for the Tutoring Program.