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.
Continue reading Program Focus: Mid-Day Mentoring with Aon at Mays Elementary
I initially started on the Board of Directors for Boundless Readers (BR) eight years ago. I joined BR because the mission was to help CPS teachers teach the love of reading to their students. We did this by providing leading-edge professional development for the teachers who were awarded the Rochelle Lee Teacher Awards. Then the students would receive an in-class library, from which they could take out books year-round. There is probably no better day each year for me than the day that those books are delivered to the classroom!
Continue reading Board Member Spotlight: John Martin
Detongress, a fourth grade student from Washington Irving Elementary, and his mentor Lisa from CME Group interviewed each other for the Student & Mentor Spotlight this month.
Continue reading Student & Mentor Spotlight: March 2016
Since 2010, McClellan Elementary has partnered with WITS. Located in the heart of Bridgeport, volunteers from the Chicago White Sox take a Wednesday walk to read with McClellan 3rd Graders. Over the 6 years of programming, WITS volunteers have read with over 250 students, providing over one thousand hours of literacy support. Built in 1881, McClellan serves 318 students in pre-kindergarten to 8th grade with one classroom per grade. Spread out over 4 floors, the McClellan building could be the prototype for older CPS schools: warn wood floors, wide black stairs, spacious rooms with built in cabinets, creaky doors and hallways, and banks of windows with sweeping views of the Chicago skyline.
Continue reading School Focus: McClellan Elementary School
The auditorium at William Penn Elementary is a large space, with ceilings two stories high, and seating for hundreds. But scattered here and there, pairs of readers sit together, enjoying the close, personal experience of reading a book together. The WITS magic is happening!
Continue reading School Focus: Penn Elementary School
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).
Continue reading Program Focus: Workplace Mentoring with Holden Elementary at BP America
Marlene, a fourth grade student from McClellan Elementary, and her mentor Heidi from Morgan Stanley interviewed each other for the Student & Mentor Spotlight this month.
Continue reading Student & Mentor Spotlight: February 2016
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.
Continue reading Program Focus: Workplace Mentoring with De Diego Elementary at Drinker Biddle
Lonnell, a fifth grade student from Fairfield Academy, and his mentor Justin from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago interviewed each other for the Student & Mentor Spotlight this month.
Continue reading Student & Mentor Spotlight: January 2016
Check out the Chicago Tribune article featuring longtime WITS partner, McDermott Will & Emery volunteers and Brown Elementary School students.