Founded by Chicagoans Joanne Alter and Marion Stone, WITS began at one urban school in the Cabrini Green housing development, one of the nation's most economically disadvantaged housing projects. Recognizing the importance of one-on-one tutoring for at-risk children, Joanne and Marion saw an overwhelming need for
their service. In 1991, WITS was born.
With the help of retirees, homemakers, college students and community members, WITS expanded its volunteer force into neighboring schools at the request of teachers and principals. As volunteers spent one morning a week working with elementary students, the word on WITS continued to spread and in 1993, WITS was incorporated.