WITS Celebrates National Volunteer Week
April 15-21, 2012
Here at WITS, our programs are volunteer-powered. That's why, this week, we take time out to honor our nearly 1,600 volunteers for dedicating their time, energy, and passion to serve our students and work in the schools.
National Volunteer Week is about honoring the people who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities. Our volunteers come from all walks of life-corporate employees, college students, retirees, government workers, and homemakers-and they all work to enrich the lives of elementary public school students through the development of an enduring love of learning and building strong mentor relationships. The dedication of WITS volunteers works to bridge the achievement and opportunity gap for struggling students, providing an extra boost over that hump, enabling the success of our students.
WITS was founded in 1991 by Chicagoans Joanne Alter and Marion Stone. Recognizing the importance of one-on-one tutoring for at risk children, Joanne and Marion, who knew the power of volunteerism, saw and overwhelming need for their service. WITS began in one urban elementary school in the Cabrini Green housing development, one of the nation's most economically disadvantaged housing projects. With the help of retirees, college students and community members, WITS expanded its volunteer force into neighboring schools at the request of teachers and principals. Today, WITS works in 24 Chicago Public Schools, partnering with school administrators and teachers to provide volunteer-powered programming.
We know that there is an inherent value in consistent one-on-one mentorship for both the student and the volunteer. The lives of WITS volunteers are enriched and students are empowered through the mentor relationships that are developed over the course of the school year. National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change- WITS volunteers make measurable impacts on the lives of students and, by extension their communities. Collectively this year, WITS volunteers will transform the lives of more than 2,600 CPS students. While it may be difficult for an individual volunteer to recognize his or her impact on a week-to-week basis, during National Volunteer Week, we want to shine a light on the collective power of WITS volunteers that fosters positive transformation.
Sponsored by Points of Light, National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each subsequent year, with thousands of volunteer's projects and special events schedules throughout the week.