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.
Tina Fitzwater, the Corporate Coordinator at Segall Bryant & Hamill, recalled a few favorite Workplace Mentoring memories. “In a previous year, we were able to visit the school and participate in activities with the students, such as the ‘Egg Drop’. This was a wonderful opportunity to see the students in their school environment. I also enjoyed our year end field trip to Willis Tower. The kids were excited to try something new and experience Chicago from above. Every child brings stories to the weekly sessions. Listening to the kids and what they are excited about makes this experience rewarding.”
To maximize their impact, Segall Bryant & Hamill began partnering with Madison Capital in the 2015-16 school year. Both groups started volunteering as separate smaller programs, but recognized the opportunity to make a bigger footprint through collaboration. Tina Fitzwater stated, “by partnering with Madison Capital, we are able to touch more lives through the program. The WITS program helps students achieve a greater appreciation for reading while also increasing their literacy skills. This in turn creates more confident students not only in reading, but in the rest of their education. Segall Bryant & Hamill, along with Madison Capital, hope to encourage students to become lifelong learners.”
Under the leadership of Phil Hildebrandt and Carolyn Goldhaber, who serve as Chairman and Vice President of WITS’ Board of Directors, Segall Bryant & Hamill employees are motivated to volunteer with WITS.
This is just some of the impact created by WITS volunteers. If you are part of a firm looking to make a difference in the lives of students, contact Tena Kunik, Chief Development Officer, to learn about joining or starting a volunteer program.
By Tra’Lisha Davis, Program Coordinator