In all the years that Whiz Kids has been at Foothills Elementary, I always knew it was a life changing ministry! I finally had the opportunity to join this last school year and was blessed with a first grade girl named, Heaven. At first, I struggled with knowing how best to tutor her. Even though I had homeschooled my kids, it was not easy to determine her needs or how best to teach her. The Lord answered my prayers about this when her mom, Stephanie, invited me to the parent teacher conference! The teacher gave me great input that helped to shape our focus and our goals during tutoring time.
With this new game plan, it was so rewarding to see her academic improvements! In December, every time we worked on reading, she was resistant and uncomfortable. She mixed up letters and did not know sight words. However by our last tutor time, she not only felt very comfortable with reading but also confident and happy!
Besides this academic growth, it did not take me long to realize how much farther reaching this ministry is! I had many direct and indirect opportunities “to make Jesus famous”, besides the one on one tutor time. Parents also regularly saw “Jesus with skin on” at the end of our tutor times, at the Christmas party, and at the end of year party. Heaven’s family was so comfortable and connected that Stephanie brought food to the Christmas party and her son helped serve and clean up! Besides the family being impacted by Jesus, the school and teachers were also. Not only did they see better grades, but also tutors connected with teachers who were still there during tutor time.
The direct ways of sharing Jesus were through club time and through the tutor team. We were like a big, happy family with the sole purpose of loving on these kids and bringing Jesus to these kids! The solidarity and support of this “community” was apparent when one of us couldn’t be there, others stepped in to tutor or to team up. Club time was so “successful” that by the end of the year, the kids were able to clearly and confidently share the story of Jesus!
Heaven and I connected so well that every Tuesday morning she would tell Stephanie that she couldn’t miss Tuesday because it was “Lisa Day”. Also the family and I felt so connected that they gave me gifts and cards, and even shared prayer requests! Stephanie and I plan to set up a time to hang out with Heaven this summer. This is all so much a “God-thing”!
As I’m remembering all of this, I’m realizing how much I look forward to the next school year, thanking the Lord and anticipating how He is going to shine Jesus at Whiz Kids again!
-Lisa Welsh, Lakewood Connects Board Member and Whiz Kid tutor