Category Archives: Corporate Focus

Student and Mentor Spotlight: Exelon & Lozano Elementary

Lorilyn and Galilea are reading partners in the WITS Workplace Mentoring Program. Galilea is a sixth grader at Rodolfo Lozano Bilingual & International Center Elementary School in Wicker Park. Every Thursday afternoon she rides a school bus with 34 of her classmates to Exelon’s offices in the Chase Tower. Once there, she takes the elevator to the 48th floor, where she reads with Lorilyn, or Laura, her other reading mentor. Lorilyn and Galilea are both WITS veterans, having been in the program for several years. They sat down to share some of their thoughts on reading, WITS, and each other.

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Corporate Focus: Segall Bryant & Hamill and Madison Capital

WITS Workplace Mentoring student reads with his mentor.

WITS offers a portfolio of literacy mentorship programs that serve students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Each WITS program partners a CPS student with a dedicated mentor who reads with them one-on-one on a weekly basis. Many volunteers go to schools to work with students, but in the Workplace Mentoring program it is reversed and students meet their mentors after school at their workplace. No matter where the program takes place, when WITS is happening there are four key components: committed volunteers, excited students, reading and lots of fun.

On Thursday afternoons, ten fourth grade students from McAuliffe Elementary School are bused to the offices of Segall Bryant & Hamill to read, complete homework, and engage in fun activities with their mentors.

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Corporate Focus: Deloitte

WITS incorporates positive reading experiences into the lives of Chicago public schools students.  At the heart of each WITS program are the committed volunteers, who contribute their time and energy to build relationships with these students, giving the literacy support they need to develop a passion for reading.

Through the Workplace Mentoring program, students meet after-school with caring volunteers from corporate offices to practice reading aloud and receive homework help. Maria Seimenis, lead-volunteer from Deloitte, reflected on her experience as a literacy mentor and shared insights on why Deloitte partners with WITS.

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Volunteering as a group with WITS

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WITS makes giving back easy. By delivering and matching students with volunteers, WITS provides structure that focuses program time on building relationships and sharing stories. WITS reaches over 800 students in the Mid-Day Mentoring, Workplace Mentoring, and WITS on Campus programs each year. Bea Farmer and Randy Perillo, lead volunteers from BP, shared insights from their experience partnering with WITS to encourage other groups to consider joining the WITS team.

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Illinois Lottery Shares Summer Reading

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To share the joy of summer reading, the Illinois Lottery recently partnered with WITS to sponsor the WITSummerbooks program. Since learning can sometimes “take a back seat” to other activities while school is out of session, the Illinois Lottery hopes to encourage young people to incorporate reading into their summer fun through their support of the WITSummer Books program.

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Corporate Focus: CME Group

Since its inception during the 2013-2014 school year, the Workplace Mentoring program at CME Group has been one of the largest in the WITS portfolio, in both volunteer and student participation. Each Wednesday, more than 30 students from Washington Irving Elementary travel from the Tri-Taylor neighborhood to CME Group’s offices to read and complete homework with the help of a volunteer mentor.

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Corporate Focus: Aon

On Tuesday mornings, volunteers from Aon travel to Chicago’s South Side to read aloud with their students at Mays Academy. Since 2009, Aon has partnered with WITS through the Mid-Day Mentoring program. Often excited and eager to meet with their reading mentors, Aon volunteers are greeted each week by a group of 18 third grade students with a lot of personality. Whether sharing an adventure with Nate the Great, learning about volcanoes, writing poetry, or showing off a new choreographed dance, Aon mentors provide students with structured developmental experiences and the space to learn while being themselves.

Paul Callero, an Associate Director at Aon Benfield and WITS Associate’s Board member, has volunteered in the Mid-Day Mentoring program for the past four years. Paul shared some of his experiences about being involved with WITS and why volunteerism is important to him.

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Corporate Focus: Morgan Stanley

WITS 2016, Brett Bulthuis

Since 2001, Morgan Stanley has been a committed partner with WITS. Powered by the volunteerism of over 70 new and veteran mentors, Morgan Stanley serves 30 students in fourth through sixth grade. To provide the most opportunity for their employees to spread the love of reading with students, Morgan Stanley maximizes their impact in Chicago by hosting the Workplace Mentoring program at two of their office branches. Each week, students from Otis and McClellan Elementary Schools are welcomed downtown to share stories, complete homework, and develop proficiency as readers.

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Corporate Focus: BP America

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WITS hosts two after-school programs with Holden Elementary with BP America. Thirty eager students board the bus and take a field trip downtown every Tuesday to work with passionate and committed BP employees who volunteer as literacy mentors. At BP, students are introduced to a corporate atmosphere and the notion that they too can one day work in a building overlooking the city.  Thirteen third and fourth graders work one on one in WITS Workplace Mentoring  Program (WPM) and 17 fifth and sixth  graders participate in Workplace Mentoring + STEM (WPM+STEM).

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Corporate Focus: Drinker Biddle

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Since the 2013-2014 school year, WITS has partnered with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (DBR) for weekly WITS Workplace Mentoring sessions. Whereas the majority of WITS programs send volunteers into schools, the Workplace Mentoring program brings students to corporate offices in the loop to read and complete homework with volunteers, and get a glimpse of what it might be like to work at a financial institution, marketing agency or, in this case, a law firm. The program provides some students with their first experience riding an elevator or viewing the city from thirty seven floors up.

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