"Midtown Educational Foundation provides a great opportunity to give back to a population that can really benefit from your time and your knowledge." Jill Fruhwirth volunteers twice a week with the at-risk, low-income students at Metro Achievement Center for girls in Greektown. Midtown Educational Foundation (MEF) also operates Midtown Center for boys, in Bucktown.
2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of MEF programs. In 2014 alone, MEF provided over 15,600 hours of individual attention to students. A combination of academic and personal support has helped MEF's students to achieve 100% high school graduation and college acceptance for the past 15 years.
Every student who attends Metro or Midtown receives a personal mentor who helps the student develop the skills necessary to complete their homework. They also set goals to help the student build good character.
Fruhwirth, a marketing associate at Grant Thorton LLP, has been a Metro tutor for four years. She has been working with Analee, a 6th grader, for three years. "One of the things that I think Analee benefits from most is the goal-setting and character education. When she was a 4th grader she was reluctant to set goals. It was definitely a struggle. Now, as a 6th grader she comes to Metro with thoughtful goals."
Every mentor at MEF helps their student to create "SMART" goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Trackable. These goals are both academic and personal. "She did not do well on a math test and made a goal to do three extra problems every night. Then, Analee noticed that the new boy in her class was shy and no one was welcoming him. Her goal was to talk to him a lot this week, and make him feel welcome." Mentors at MEF guide the students, teaching them how to set constructive goals, and how to follow up with them.
What truly sets MEF's programs apart is their focus on families. MEF recognizes parents as the primary educators of their children and works to support them in this vital role. Every time the students are at Midtown or Metro, the parents can also attend. There are classes, discussions, conferences and more on different parenting skills. "Because I have worked with Analee the past couple of years, her parents and I have a pretty good relationship. At conferences they were onboard with everything I said to try and help Analee."
MEF accepts volunteers throughout the academic school year. If you are interested in becoming a mentor please visit www.midtown-metro.org and fill out a volunteer application. You may also call Carolyn Madigan at (312) 226-4886 ext. 232 for the girls program. Or, Oscar Calderon at (773) 292-2662 for the boys program.