Children are our future, and the Delta Learning Center (DLC) is an inspiring example of a community coming together to help them succeed. For nearly 50 years the nonprofit organization has been helping students achieve success in the classroom with one-on-one tutoring.
“The Delta Learning Center is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of all students in the Contra Costa County community through one-on-one quality academic support,” said Executive Director Kimberly Ahumada. “At Delta Learning Center we aim to provide an equal positive and optimistic educational future to all our students.”
With help from every corner of Antioch and the entire East Contra Costa County community — not to mention lots of sweat equity — DLC has gone from its meager beginnings tutoring students in the founder’s garage to having a brick-and-mortar building with nine classrooms and a boardroom, as well as a board of directors, a host of community volunteers, and financial assistance from local organizations. Delta Learning Center was named Antioch’s 2022 Non- Profit of the Year.
Delta Learning Center was founded in 1976 by retired school psychologist Julia Bess Combs. The nonprofit took a big step ahead in 1989, when the community pitched in to build the current center at 275 West Tregallas Road. An engineering company and others donated their services, and the architect, general contractor, electrical company and others discounted their fees to get the building constructed. Soroptimist International of Antioch persuaded local service organizations (including Rotarians, Kiwanians, and Lions Clubs) to donate classroom furnishings. A local business gave the center a $250,000 building loan, which they later forgave.
“If you’ve noticed the circular or diamond-shaped windows, they were purposely designed to ensure students didn’t equate the building with a school, where they may not have felt successful, but with a fun and whimsical way to learn what they needed,” Ahumada said. Ensuring the success of our children certainly takes a community, and through the years credentialed teachers and tutors (or those qualified as substitutes with Antioch Unified School District) have stepped up to volunteer. Teachers, retired school administrators, members of local service clubs and others have been on the board. Service organizations, individuals and grant funders have provided scholarship donations and even repainted the building’s exterior. Through both in-person and online tutoring, Delta Learning Center served approximately 207 students between August 2021 and May 2023. Approximately 74% of its students are low income and/or with learning disabilities. The demographics of those served are 37% African American, 31% Latino, 17% Asian, and 15% White. “Our tutors are helping their students improve study skills using methods that are customized for a more individual approach,” Ahumada said.
Scholarship programs date back to the early 1980s. DLC has received donations from Contra Cost County Keller Canyon Grant, Antioch Community Foundation, St. John’s Lutheran Church, and many private donors.
“Our tutoring scholarship program allows us to reach out to families in our community that would otherwise not be able to afford tutoring services. Through this program we can expand our effectiveness in the community and serve a more economically diverse community,” Ahumada said.
Parents of students served have praised DLC for the difference its volunteers have made in their children’s lives. Read on as these parents share what is so special about DLC:
All three of Ieshia West’s children have been tutored by DLC volunteers. Her older two children are now successful in high school and middle school, and her youngest is getting help with math. “My youngest definitely struggles the most out of all my kids with school, not because he is a bad student, but because he is super social,” West said. “Well, his very first tutor Mrs. Wheelock was able to hold his attention and keep him focused by making the work fun!”
“When we moved to Antioch, I was determined to find a place that could help [my son] rebuild his confidence, and that is what we have found here at DLC,” said Raquel Gaitan. “Mrs. Olson has created a safe and encouraging space for my son to not only catch up to his peers but surpass the sixth-grade curricula.”
Jeanie Rounsaville’s two children have been attending DLC for about four years. “The excellent tutoring has helped, and it shows in their school progress. I would highly recommend Delta Learning Center to any parent looking for tutoring assistance for their child,” she said.
And Deborah Amaral credits DLC for helping her son successfully return to high school following the COVID-19 pandemic. “After COVID when they reopened, I signed him up as soon as I could. I know him going back to in-classroom learning was going to be very hard and he was behind,” Amaral said. “Jacob and I are grateful for the help in all his classes and helping him prepare for finals.”
While DLC works on a “shoestring budget” and always welcomes new volunteers, Ahumada is
very grateful for the organization’s ongoing support from the community. “We would not be here
without all the support from our community,” she said.
Delta Learning Center Event Highlights
- DLC will participate in the Antioch Fourth of July Parade, 5 p.m. downtown.
- Resource Fair at Williamson Ranch Park in Antioch, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. DLC
will have a booth.
- DLC will host a Chamber of Commerce Mixer, July 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. 275 W. Tregallas
- Multicultural Festival at Williamson Ranch Park in Antioch, August 12 from 12 to 5 p.m.
DLC will have a booth.
Delta Learning Center Success Stories
- Kendall Lanstrom, one of DLC’s first students, grew up with severe learning disabilities.
Thanks to help from DLC, he was able to work at a Roundtable Pizza parlor for many
years before moving with his mother to Colorado and now Oklahoma.
- Becky Webster, who grew up in the 1980s, needed help with reading. Through a
scholarship provided by Mrs. Lesher, Becky was tutored at DLC. She is now married and
runs her own business in another community.
- Carmen Ochoa’s son got his help from the center and as an adult now works for the
Pittsburg Unified School District’s transportation department.
- A local church adopted a homeless mother and her young son, who had gotten behind in
school. The church sponsored his attendance at Cornerstone Christian School, but he
needed tutoring, which he is receiving at DLC. “He is getting taller now and his tutor,
Mrs. Wheelock, told me yesterday he is making incredible progress and is truly starting
to catch up!” said DLC Executive Director Kimberly Ahumada.