Two Decades of Empowering Youth: The Urban Battle Tutoring Program

The Urban Battle Tutoring Program

Across from our state capitol is a small tutoring program that has served young people for over 19 years, yet you may have never even heard of it. 

Originally founded as Motivating Teens to Victory by Reverend Battle, the academic tutoring program now known as Urban Battle’s Tutoring Program is for youth in grades 1-12 and is free of charge to any student who has the desire to learn. It is designed to help students who are behind academically, socially, and motivationally. Urban Battle Tutoring, which is housed in the downstairs hall of Berean Church, addresses all three of these areas simultaneously, while placing major emphasis on academics.

The program's main mission is to improve the skills of children in low-income communities in the areas of math, reading, writing, technology and communicating effectively in English, allowing them to graduate high school prepared for college or vocational school. In addition to academics, Urban Battle Tutoring also works to build the students’ self confidence and instill in them the belief that they have value. 

Currently, seventeen volunteer tutors are helping with the program, and on any given day about 35 to 50 children attend. The program meets from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday evenings and runs year-round.  A meal is served from 6.30 to 7 p.m. and tutoring is conducted from 7 to 8:30 p.m. In addition to meals and tutoring services, the program helps equip students with school supplies, cover expenses of various school activities, and assists in the college or financial aid application process.

From entrepreneurs, to doctors, accountants, college students, blue-collar workers, and retirees, the program’s volunteers come from different walks of life and have a wide range of skills—not to mention positive attitudes, patience and big hearts. The program’s best-known volunteers are director Bob Kohl and his wife, Pat. They have been with the program for over 14 years and have been the perfect example of a giving life that's making a difference. They not only give monetary support by covering about 90% of the expenses, but they also give of themselves by showing genuine interest in the lives of the youth, providing inspiration, and supporting the students’ dreams.

Bob explains that it is “more than a tutoring program, it is a social justice program in that education is key to breaking the poverty cycle.” Pat Kohl also coordinates the Good Neighbor Meal, which serves the homeless on the second and last Saturday of the month. The Kohl’s have tried to be on the frontlines of fighting poverty at the grassroots level by providing food for the body, education for the mind, and a safe environment for the children to blossom, flourish, and succeed.

You can learn more about the program at or contact Bob Kohl at 651-483-5246 or or Dr. Geeta Vora at 763-780-8837 or