Whiz Kids Oklahoma, a division of City Care, Inc., is celebrating their 20th anniversary of mentoring and tutoring first- through sixth-grade students and are looking to the future to accomplish their 2015 goals for helping even more students.
Whiz Kids will host their annual Seeds of Hope banquet to celebrate and honor their volunteers. The banquet will be held on March 30, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center. The banquet is also a chance to lay a foundation to achieve future goals in improving the well-being of inner city youth through academic tutoring and positive mentoring relationships.
Whiz Kids’ growth goal by the end of the 2014-2015 school year is to have more than 900 students participating in the program. Money raised at this year’s event will be used for continuing growth and developing additional partnerships so Whiz Kids can serve more kids in the 2015-2016 school year.
Officially starting in 1994 and gaining non-profit status in 1995, Whiz Kids has spent more than 20 years mentoring Oklahoma City’s youth. Starting with two sites and help from two churches, Whiz Kids has grown to serving more than 850 students from 29 urban schools and 30 sites in partnership with 65 churches and more than 1,250 volunteers during the 2013-2014 school year.
“We are committed to helping students in urban areas improve their reading levels and provide a positive adult in their lives,” said Bea Jai Webb, Whiz Kids director. “Celebrating our 20th anniversary is a great accomplishment, and we look forward to the next 20 years.”
Approximately one in three fourth-grade students in Oklahoma read below proficiency level. Through a 2007 study, Whiz Kids showed that students in their program scored 58 points higher for fourth grade and 57 points higher in fifth grade than their peers on the Reading Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT).
Volunteers focus on self-esteem, reading, communication skills, goal setting and character building with their students. Many of the tutors build such strong relationships with their child they spend years tutoring and mentoring the same student. Tutors become more than just tutors – they are mentors, friends and role models.
Whiz Kids partners with the Crutcho School District, Mid-Del City School District and the Crooked Oak School District as well with Oklahoma City Public Schools. A teacher from each local school facilitates each Whiz Kids site and serves as a school liaison.
Whiz Kids is a faith-based, one-on-one volunteer tutoring and mentoring program that focuses on first- through sixth-grade students who live in areas that have some of the highest drop-out rates and lowest socioeconomic levels in Oklahoma City. Whiz Kids is proactive ad preventative in nature, targeting inner-city schools and students who are reading below grade level and who could benefit most from a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult.