Whiz Kids tutor/mentor Virginline Duke, left, smiles as she recognizes Sherwood Acres student Nikeryia Marshall Tuesday at First Freewill Baptist Church during a celebration of the children’s success and academic achievement. Begun six years ago, Whiz Kids partners churches with local elementary schools to provide tutors and mentors to help at-risk school children.
ALBANY, Ga. — If you believe in the old saying ‘good things come in small packages,’ you need not go any farther that First Free Will Baptist Church to find proof.
On Tuesday, First Freewill celebrated its Third Whiz Kids Tutoring class when 10 first and second graders gathered with their tutors/mentors to recognize the children’s success and academic progress.
Begun six years ago as a way to reach out to ‘at-risk’ children in the community, Whiz Kids partners churches and their members with local elementary schools to assist academically at-risk youngsters in math, science, reading and writing.
The first Whiz Kids group partnered Covenant Presbyterian and Magnolia students. First Freewill joined with Sherwood Acres School and Evangelical Faith Vision Ministries will partner with Alice Coachman School during the next school year.
Starting in October of each school year, groups of children (usually around 10 children) are paired with tutor/mentors who meet with the children on Tuesdays at the churches.
The children and the adults remain paired during the six-month program.
More church-student partnerships are in the works.
“We think Whiz Kids is an excellent program,” Sherwood counselor Margaret Hatch said. “The kids really look forward to it because it makes them feel special.”
First Freewill pastor Billy Hanna agrees.
“I think this program really helps the kids,” Hanna said. “Having done this for three years it has really made me aware of the challenges our school system and parents face each and every day in educating our children.
“I just hope the parents feel we are having a positive impact on their children.”