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.
I volunteer with WITS because I enjoy helping kids develop both their reading and interpersonal communication skills. When I grew up, I was lucky enough to have mentors and reading buddies in school. In addition to helping me become a better reader, they motivated me to set goals and dream big. I empower the students I volunteer with to do the same.
It’s important to me that Aon supports WITS because these kids are the future. As an organization that has a vast amount of resources, it’s our duty to mentor and support the development of these students so they can grow up and contribute to their own respective communities.
My favorite memory from the WITS program is when I received a letter from my student from the previous year thanking me for teaching him how to read. He said that he used the books we gave him at the end of the year to continue practicing over the summer!
By Eric Coleman, Development Coordinator