Bradford said organizations such as Whiz Kids are full of “heroes.”
“The mentors and donors — you are the heroes. We applaud you. Don't grow weary in well doing. Do not give up.”
Bea Jai Webb, executive director of Whiz Kids Oklahoma, echoed his sentiments.
“They (Whiz Kids participants) need a model to follow, and you are their model,” she said to the volunteers gathered.
Katie Hock, a fifth-grade teacher at Edgemere, serves as the teacher liaison for the Wesley Whiz Kids program. She said the tutoring program is making a huge difference in the lives of the participating students.
“The impact it has made in some of these students' lives is awe-inspiring,” said Hock, who attends Church of the Servant. “I've seen their confidence grow, and they also feel like they have someone to count on.”
She said some of the students don't have a stable home life.
“For those that don't, it's great for them to have an adult role model who they can count on.”
Hock said the program is primarily centered on academics, but the volunteers provide much more for the children.
“It's more than just reading — it's anchor for them.”
Guy Ramsey, a member of Wesley United Methodist who is the church's Whiz Kids' liaison, said he participates in the program because he believes in helping youths.
“I feel like it's a calling. I feel like we should be here to help out children, and I like to see them learn,” he said.
Martha Butler, a Wesley member who helps prepare after-school meals for the Whiz Kids students, shared a similar motivation.
“It's just rewarding to see the children's faces and to see them excel.”