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#AlwaysThere: Chizi Igwe

$74,565 out of $200,000 raised.

The year was off to a rocky start. Despite our best efforts, we hadn’t found an elementary school partner for our cohort at Dunbar High School. We had an excited group of teens signed up for our program, but we didn’t have any students for them to tutor.

We explained the situation and assured them that we were developing a Plan B, but we feared the worst. Tutor retention can be a challenge even under the best of circumstances. Without students, we expected enrollment at Dunbar to plummet.

But, our Dunbar cohort kept showing up. And, very quickly, we realized why: it was thanks to Ms. Chizi.

Week after week, Ms. Chizi – Reach’s Program Instructor at Dunbar – found ways to keep our teens engaged. She held professional development sessions. She talked about the benefits of studying abroad. She organized a field trip to watch the new Harriet Tubman biopic. She led discussions about topics important to our teens, then listened as they shared their opinions and experiences.

Week after week, Ms. Chizi showed up for our teens at Dunbar. And, because she was #AlwaysThere for them, they kept showing up too.

In the next few months, our teens at Dunbar will host a series of readings and literacy nights that will serve their larger community. It’s a bit of a departure from our usual model, but we’re expecting great things from our teens. Ms. Chizi would have it no other way.

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