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Colorado high school sophomore says tutoring younger kids brings a smile to her face

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Posted at 10:15 PM, Jan 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-30 00:15:56-05

AURORA, Colo. – On Thursday nights, most high school sophomores would likely be working on their own homework. Elise Uhde isn’t a typical high school sophomore. She spends a couple of hours on Thursday nights as a volunteer tutor with Whiz Kids Tutoring.

“It's really important, because education is really the key to success,” Elise says. “To see these kids grow, and as you work through them, and you work with them each week, you'll see improvement and that's just really rewarding for me.”

It was during the COVID pandemic and while Elise was in middle school that she began volunteering. Her father and older sister were already tutoring at the time.

“I think because I had extra time, and I always saw them going out every week. I was like, ‘I have extra time. It's COVID. Why not try it?’” she recalls.

High school sophomore says tutoring younger kids brings a smile to her face

Whiz Kids Tutoring has been around since 1991 when a group of churches, community groups, schools and business leaders decided to create a resource to bridge the achievement gap in many neighborhoods. Most of the tutors work one-on-one all year with a single student. This year, Elise is tutoring two.

“I always try to make it a little fun with some games we throw in there and maybe some things that they don't do at school so then when they do it at school, eventually they can be like, ‘Oh, I know this a little bit and feel better in this topic,” she says.

Karen Berg coordinates the tutoring at the location Elise volunteers at. She says Elise balances the tutoring with a busy schedule of school activities like FBLA, working at a retirement home, making jewelry she sells on Etsy and baking. Still, she has time to be a role model for the students she works with.

“I think her student would say that she's patient, and they love her. And she smiles and makes them laugh,” Karen says.

  • To learn how you can help Whiz Kids Tutoring, click here

Elise says she can’t think of a better way to help out kids who often just need a little extra nudge to get themselves on the right academic track.

“It's just so rewarding,” she says. “You just feel like you have made such a big difference in this kid's life. And whether they remember you or not, that doesn't matter.”

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