About ACTS

It started with an idea…

It is the mission of ACTS to provide free one-to-one tutoring and mentoring to the elementary children of Springfield, in the Spirit of Christ.

Welcome From Our Executive Director

As I officially come on as the new Executive Director of ACTS, I am filled with excitement and anticipation. During the last month, I had the opportunity to observe the dedication, hard work, and commitment of our staff, volunteers, and board of directors. I witnessed the wonderful relationships between our tutors and the children in our program as well as the connections made by our Site Directors with their parents.

The pandemic disrupted all our lives, especially the educational lives of school children. The early report from schools is that our children’s education has suffered during the past year and a half. The ministry of ACTS is needed now more than ever before. We’re working to reopen our sites and add new ones in the coming months. There are some challenges as we try to get to a “new” normal, but there are also some great opportunities for ACTS to grow and expand our work and ministry. I’m looking forward to working with our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers as we continue to make a difference…one child at a time…one family at a time.”

Together in Ministry,

         Barbara Headley

Our History

ACTS was incorporated as a faith-based non-profit agency. We are registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

It all began with a youth group trip from the Evangelical Covenant Church in Springfield to Philadelphia to work with Tony and Bart Campolo and their ministry in Bartram Village. The students returned home with a desire to share the love of Christ in their own community. Mary Lou McElmurray, as one of the adult leaders on that trip, contacted Major Anita Turlington at the Salvation Army Church on Hunter Place. There, in the spring of 1986, a tutoring program was started with teen tutors from both the Covenant Church and Foster Memorial Church.

In the fall of that same year, Alan Johnson learned about what was going on at Hunter Place and contacted Mary Lou to talk about a similar program in Chicago called CYCLE. Others who were eager to be involved in some meaningful outreach to the city of Springfield met and prayed together with Alan and Mary Lou for a number of weeks at the McElmurray’s home in Longmeadow.  They felt like God was leading them to develop this tutoring ministry with the hallmark being a one-to-one relationship between tutor and student.

ACTS was incorporated as a faith-based non-profit agency, and a Board of Directors was established. The first Board of Directors consisted of the following:

Alan Johnson (President) ,Mary Lou McElmurray (Vice President), David Carlson (Secretary), John Howell (Treasurer),  Ethel Dean,  Rev. Bill Dwyer and Major Anita Turlington.  Others who contributed to the birth of ACTS include Rev. Miles Crawford, Phyliss Cuffee, Girlie Davis, Sharon Weinhold Davis, Kristi Hagstrom, Linda Howell, Carol Kuhn, Peter Levanos, Christine MacGregor, Bill McElmurray, Bill Pudlo, Janet Hakanson-Stacy and Russ and Dot Weinhold.

Carol Bushman, a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, was hired as the first Program Director. The Evangelical Covenant Church of America provided a grant of $10,000 to launch the program.


ACTS is led by a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors. All are education and other professionals coming together to make Springfield a better community by supporting students and helping them to succeed. Burt Hansen is currently the Executive Director of ACTS.

our Board of Directors

Jennifer Cushman, President
(Retired Non-Profit Executive Director)

Ruth Carlson, Treasurer
(Retired Teacher)

MaryEllen Brush,
(Educational Leader)

Linda Howell
(Registered Nurse, retired)

Willette H. Johnson
(Springfield Public Schools District Administrator, retired)

Steve Lewis
(Human Resources, retired)

Alan Marshall
(ACTS Clerk – Attorney in Private Practice)

Joan Stuart
(Nurse Case Manager, Health New England)

Jackie Webb-Spann
(Special Education Teacher, retired)

Geraldine Warton
(Acts Vice President – Attorney, The Hartford)

Burt Hansen
(ACTS Executive Director –
Marketing Manager, retired)