School Focus: Walsh Elementary

“I have learned from my time as a WITS volunteer that the need [for WITS] is very essential. Reading is a very integral part of our lives and it must be stirred up and encouraged in children as early as possible.”

– Carmen, WITS Mid-Day Mentoring Volunteer

A third grade student from Walsh Elementary reads with her mentor

It was a great year at Walsh Elementary School. This past school year, Walsh Elementary hosted the WITS Kindergarten, Mid-Day Mentoring, Workplace Mentoring, and the WITS on the Weekend programs. Across each program, volunteers spent their time reading books and forming strong, positive relationships with their students.

The time and commitment volunteers bring to the program is pivotal. Our volunteers provide students with experiences that make reading fun and educational, rather than challenging. The students and volunteers formed incredible relationships and were often talking excitedly about books they just finished, or asking for the next book in a series.

WITS 2016, Brett Bulthuis

Many memories were made this year that made a difference in the lives of our students as well as our volunteers. From the excitement of kindergarteners discovering new books and emerging as young readers; to fourth grade students arriving by bus at Citi Group to read and learn with their mentors after-school – the magic is happening in WITS programming each week. Through the support of groups, such as Bank of America, US Bank, and NACSA (National Association of Charter School Authorizers) that make up the Mid-Day Mentoring program for third graders at Walsh, and the individuals committed to giving back to their community, WITS volunteers continue to inspire literacy in Chicago’s youth.

By: Laura Tilsner, Program Coordinator