By: Laura Tilsner, Program Manager
The WITS community of volunteers inspires students as they develop as readers and learners. Leadership is regularly seen through the actions and examples of the mentors that show up for their students, and the students who make a small investment in their academic success every time they read at WITS. This empowerment is seen in the Workplace Mentoring program with CBOE Global Markets, Inc. (CBOE).
CBOE, WITS’ first Workplace Mentoring partner, began inviting students from John B. Drake Elementary to their offices in 1999. The participating students from Drake are exceptional. Each student is always engaged and ready to read when they come to program, even after a long day of school.
Though the program is full of wonderful students and mentors, this piece focuses on one student and mentor that stand out. In WITS programs, volunteers have the option to volunteer once a week or every other week. Brandon Price is a full-time Investigator for CBOE and is brand new to the WITS program. Brandon initially chose to sign up for a bi-weekly commitment, but after the first week of program, he decided that he wanted to be part of the program every week.
“My experience with WITS has been phenomenal,” Brandon reflected. “The students are very respectful to the tutors as well as their peers, which creates a positive environment for learning. It’s a testament to the incredible job that WITS and Drake are doing with the students. I am very happy with my decision to switch to being a weekly mentor and I enjoy reading with Destenie each week.” Mentoring with WITS resonates a lot with Brandon because he has a one-year old girl at home. “This experience is teaching me to have patience and to do my best. I look forward to volunteering in the coming years as CBOE and WITS continue to work together in making an impact in the lives of students.”
Brandon’s student, Destenie, is a 5th grader who is also new to the program. So far, Destenie has benefited from this experience as a reader and from having Brandon as a mentor. “I like reading because the books are interesting. Brandon helps me a lot and talks to me about different things. He makes sure that I’m okay with what I’m doing. He looks out for me and it makes me feel good.” Destenie already knows that she wants to sign up for the program again next year.
The WITS experience provides students an environment where they can be themselves, have fun, and become better readers. There is nothing else like it.