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Oklahoma City's Whiz Kids to honor volunteers

Nelson Williams is among the Whiz Kids who blossomed in the Oklahoma City program.
By Lee Ann DeArman, For The Oklahoman Published: March 22, 2014
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How do you turn a struggling reader into an aspiring leader? You plant seeds of hope and perseverance in them. Then, you nurture them and watch them grow.

Whiz Kids is a faith-based tutoring program that matches volunteers from 67 suburban Oklahoma City churches with at-risk students from inner-city schools.

Nelson Williams, a former Whiz Kid and 2009 graduate of Southeast High School, is proof that the seeds do grow. As an elementary school student in south Oklahoma City, Nelson was matched with Beverly and James Grove in the Whiz Kids program. Beverly and James encouraged Nelson to set goals and work hard to achieve success.

After high school, Nelson joined the military, where he enrolled in a two-year language study course. His peers and commanding officers selected him to deliver the graduation speech for his military unit, which he did, in Mandarin Chinese.

“I couldn’t give up,” said Nelson. “People had high expectations of me. I knew if I pushed myself hard enough, I could do it.”

Nelson added, “I can’t imagine life without Mr. James and Miss Beverly. Without Whiz Kids, I wouldn’t know how to read.”

James and Beverly planted seeds of determination and vision in Nelson. These caring adults helped cultivate these seeds in his life and watched Nelson grow into an impressive example of what can be accomplished with a little hope and a lot of hard work.

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