Don Wolf

Daily Point of Light # 1318 Feb 22, 1999

After learning how many students struggle to succeed academically, Don Wolf, a business executive, developed an idea to match students in need of extra help in school with adults once a week to work on homework. He took his plan to the Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent and area businesses to solicit their help in creating the framework and providing the funding to bring the concept to fruition. In August of 1989, Study Connection was formed and operated as a privately funded pilot project for three years, now a funded program of FWCS.

Study Connection is a simple idea turned into a powerful program. The goals and objectives of this program are to meet the academic needs of students identified as educationally disadvantaged by providing a consistent and long-term relationship with community volunteers for tutoring and homework assistance, to provide constant and positive exposure to successful adult role models to enhance students' self-esteem and encourage students to set high goals and to encourage the business sector to take an active role in educating youth.

The program started with 120 volunteers. Last year, more than 900 individuals and 35 businesses, churches and community agencies participated in Study Connection. In a survey of teachers at the end of the school year, 71 % noticed an improvement in students' academic achievement and 88% noticed an improvement in students' self-esteem.

A grant from the Lily Foundation allowed Study Connection staff to prepare a detailed packet of information that can be shared with other communities that wishes to emulate the Fort Wayne program. Many other states, including Alabama, Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia, now have their own versions of Study Connection.