Last school year, the Village Church of Mariemont partnered with Whiz Kids and Mariemont Elementary to bring this literacy-based tutoring and mentoring program to our school.
A dozen students in grades 1-3 stayed after school one day a week to work with volunteers from the church, Kiwanis, Marielders and throughout the community. All of the volunteers completed background checks and training using the A-Z Reading Curriculum.
Steve Spooner, a Mariemont community member who was partnered with a first grader, had a great time reading with the student as well as making paper airplanes, which he would use as an incentive to stay on task with reading. During the last session, the student “and I taught the rest of the kids to make one of his favorite [paper airplane] designs, and then we all went outside to see whose could fly the furthest. The look on the kid’s face while we were leading the rest of the kids was my favorite part of being involved with Whiz Kids.”
Jack Smith, a Terrace Park resident, volunteered with the program because he loves kids. “I mentored a 3rd grader and…right from the beginning it was obvious she was a bright little person with a real gift for art, especially drawing animals.” They started every meeting with her drawing Jack a picture (usually of animals) and then they would move on to reading. “As we got her learning about things she wanted to know more about, we started making progress with her reading.”
Whiz Kids has been recognized as a “Best Practice Program” by the Ohio Governor’s office and provides tutoring for 1,400 children at 70 locations in greater Cincinnati with over 1,700 volunteers involved.
“One of my favorite things to hear was that our Whiz Kids students were always asking their teachers when Whiz Kids was meeting and that it was a favorite part of their week,” said Todd Keyes, Whiz Kids volunteer and senior pastor at the Village Church of Mariemont. “What an inspiration to see these young scholars grow in personal confidence and academic skill through this program. I can't wait to be involved again next year.”
If you are interested in volunteering with Whiz Kids this fall, please contact Jamie Keyes or call 513-272-7500 for more information.