WITSummer Early Childhood Program: Volunteer Experience

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Maureen McInerney volunteered with the WITSummer Early Childhood program at Jordan Elementary in Rogers Park. She read with young scholars entering kindergarten three days a week in the library center. Below, Maureen shares about her experience with WITS and highlights of the program. Thank you Maureen for being a truly outstanding volunteer!

How did you first learn about WITS?
I learned about WITS through browsing the internet to look for volunteer opportunities in CPS. It was something I had been doing for many years, and had never seen it before.

How long have you been involved with WITS? What other programs and schools did you volunteer in?
I worked in Hibbard School, at Foster and Kedzie in the 2012-13 school year, a huge school, 1200 students, and it performed like clock work. I have been volunteering in CPS since 2002, much of it in the Albany Park neighborhood, but also on the South and West sides. I appreciate the professionalism and structure of WITS.

What did you enjoy most about your time with the students this summer?
I love being in a classroom, it is always the highlight of my day. Specifically, this summer I enjoyed working with highly qualified and inspirational millennials. And I cherish the individuality of each student, it makes for a day filled with surprise.

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You worked with Pre-K students this summer. Any adorable moments you’d like to share?
The class size was small, and we worked in smaller groups. So, there is time to observe. Their faces speak volumes. At five years they are genuine. I loved watching them when they had to make a ‘CHOICE’ ….no boardroom was ever so tense.

What have you learned from your time as a WITS volunteer?
That despite all the statistics to the contrary, small wonders can and do occur in CPS everyday. I think a good principal that takes advantage of community support is essential.

Has WITS affected the way you understand Chicago?
Working with WITS in Chicago’s inner city makes you aware of the burdens Chicago needs to surmount, while being exposed to people who are willing to go the extra mile…..City of Big Shoulders.