Summer of SUCCESS began at Coleman Middle School in the summer of 2009 as an opportunity for students to engage in some technology-based math, reading and writing activities, as well as recreation and board games. Volunteers were recruited, screened and trained and joined us for some tutoring and mentoring. It was primarily scheduled during Coleman’s Summer Math Academy times (for students not attending Math Academy), but it was set up in such a way that Math Academy students could also join the Summer of SUCCESS activities before or after their classes.
As we have seen the impact that small-group activities have on raising the engagement level of middle schoolers, and as we have learned about the importance of building “soft skills,” (problem-solving, self-regulation, perseverance, growth mindset, interpersonal communication, etc.) we have made adjustments in the approaches to how we can best serve middle schoolers. Summer is a great time for middle schoolers to be exposed to new and interesting experiences and build skills and it’s also a great time to engage volunteers in sharing things they are interested in.
Joni Hawks, long-time coordinator of the tutoring/mentoring program at Brooks Technology and Arts Magnet and owner of “I Can Do Gymnastics” will coordinate the weekly camps.
Judith Wencel of SUCCESS in the Middle is doing the fundraising, recruiting and training volunteers and maintains the website and social media. She coordinated the tutoring/mentoring program at Coleman Middle School for 20 years and now focuses on recruiting and training volunteers to tutor and mentor middle schoolers at any school, neighborhood site or agency that desires volunteers.
Dominique Whitten, who has a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Kansas, is in charge of notifying children and families in the neighborhoods near the programs and getting them registered, as well as participating in the leadership of the camps.
Pastor Wade Moore of the Christian Faith Center has kindly agreed to allow the use of their new Urban Preparatory (UP) Academy facility for the second year.
Pastor Larry Young and the Trustees of Fairmount Church are enthusiastic supporters of the current Fairmount GoZones program on Saturdays that serves the children from the neighborhood and they were very happy to host Summer of SUCCESS during the week for two weeks for the incoming 6th graders in the neighborhood.
Pastor Bill Vann and his wife, Michelle, of Iasis Christian Center, have designated the area around their church an Impact Zone and were happy to host two weeks of the camp in support of their outreach to the neighborhood.
Alexis Elder, George Elder and Katharine Elder, all of Elderslie Farm, are kind enough to work with us on field trips. Alexis grows veggies, George grows berries and has a sawmill and carpentry shop. Katharine taught science at Northfield Academy and now runs the Bramble Days cafe and Farm to Table Dinners at Elderslie Farm.
Christyn Breathett, the education coordinator for the Kansas African American Museum, leads “Legacy Clubs” in schools, runs “Legacy Camps” in the summer and she also has a “Museum on Wheels” presentation that she does for schools and groups. We are delighted she has agreed to help us this summer.
Katharine Elder was an art class instructor at YMCA and volunteered several years at Wichita Center for the Arts. While teaching science at Northfield she also taught a portraiture class to middle schoolers and has agreed to do that for us, as well.